GOP megadonors turn on Trump after Jan. 6 hearings, set sights on DeSantis, Pence and other 2024 hopefuls

Support from some of the Republican Party’s biggest donors for a 2024 White House run by former President Donald Trump is dwindling, especially after damaging new details of his actions on Jan. 6, 2021 were revealed at a hearing Tuesday by the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Republican financiers and their advisors have been privately meeting since the committee started to release the initial findings of its ongoing probe in a series of public hearings earlier this month, according to interviews with top GOP fundraisers who have helped the party raise millions of dollars. Most of the people asked not to be named because they didn’t want to provoke retribution from Trump or his allies. They’ve been discussing the upcoming 2022 midterms and who they’re going to support in 2024. One name that doesn’t often get brought up as a potential candidate they want to back for president again is Trump, these people explained.

“Donors are very concerned that Trump is the one Republican who can lose in 2024,” Eric Levine, an attorney and longtime GOP fundraiser, said after the Hutchinson hearing. “I think donors were already moving away from Trump,” he noted. Levine is co-hosting a fundraising event for the Trump-endorsed former TV host and current Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in New York in September, according to an invite reviewed by CNBC.

For Trump, it’s a similar theme to his first run for president. Many corporate business leaders backed other Republican candidates like Jeb Bush early on in the race only later to back Trump when it was obvious he was going to capture the GOP nomination.

A person close to some of the biggest real estate executives in New York who backed Trump during both of his runs for the White House said this time is different. Their view is he’s taken “major hits” during the Jan. 6 hearings. None from that group are coming to defend him, at least for now.

“The silence is deafening,” this person added.

The lack of interest in Trump by some of the wealthiest Republican donors could boost fundraising efforts for other GOP presidential hopefuls. Multiple Republicans could run in 2024, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. and Sen. Tom Cotton R-Ark. Scott is up for reelection in 2022 but recently headlined an event in Iowa, a key state for candidates running for president. Cotton reportedly huddled with donors to discuss a possible 2024 run for president.

The former president has not publicly ruled out running for the White House again in two years after losing to President Joe Biden in 2020. Despite a lack of support from corporate leaders, Trump has maintained a massive campaign war chest thanks largely to small-dollar donors.

His political action committee, Save America, had over a $100 million on hand going into June, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing. Trump’s affiliated super PAC Make America Great Again, Again saw support from a small group of wealthy donors in May, including $150,000 from real estate mogul Geoffrey Palmer and $250,000 from David Frecka, the founder of Next Generation Films. The super PAC raised over $770,000 in May.

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