Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Trump ally, billionaire megadonor Ronald Lauder will not back Trump’s 2024 run for president

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Then-President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, after a meeting on December 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images

Billionaire and GOP megadonor Ronald Lauder won’t help finance Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign for president, his spokesman told CNBC on Wednesday.

Lauder, an heir to the Estée Lauder fortune, is the latest Republican megadonor to distance himself from Trump as the former president launches a third bid for the White House. Lauder contributed almost $100,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2019 when the political organization was helping Trump get reelected, according the nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets.

Lauder has known Trump since college, and the two have been close for years. Lauder reportedly spoke to Trump while he was president about the idea of the U.S. buying Greenland. Lauder joins Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and wealthy businessman Andy Sabin, who have said they won’t back Trump’s new campaign for president.

Former President Donald Trump announces bid for White House in 2024

Though his spokesman did not say who Lauder will support in 2024, Florida campaign finance records show that the billionaire businessman donated $10,000 last year to a political action committee supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ successful reelection campaign. Lauder gave $200,000 toward DeSantis’ 2018 run for governor, according to OpenSecrets.

Though DeSantis hasn’t formally launched a run for the White House, he’s risen as a top contender in the party after winning reelection in Florida on Nov. 8 by almost 20 percentage points. He also hasn’t ruled out challenging Trump in the Republican primary.

Lauder has been a previous donor to Republican-led efforts in New York. State records show he gave millions of dollars during the 2022 election cycle toward backing Rep. Lee Zeldin’s run for governor. Zeldin, R-N.Y., lost that race to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Trump endorsed Zeldin heading into Election Day.

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