News

The billionaires rallying behind Trump after his conviction


Ultra-wealthy Republican donors are rallying behind former US President Donald Trump following his historic trial and criminal conviction.

Trump, the Republican candidate for this November’s White House election, was found guilty of falsifying business records to conceal hush money paid to former adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

While he has lagged behind Joe Biden and the Democrats’ fundraising efforts, the conviction injected new life into his electoral bid – with his campaign announcing that it raised nearly $53m (¬£41.6m) in just 24 hours after the verdict.

Israeli-American casino billionaire Miriam Adelson is expected to announce a multi-million dollar boost to Trump’s campaign this week.

According to US media reports, Mrs Adelson will donate to a political action committee called Preserve America. Political action committees can spend unlimited sums of money backing candidates for elected office.

While it is unclear how much she plans to spend, Politico and other US news outlets have reported that the contribution is expected to exceed the $90m donation to Preserve America by Mrs Adelson and her late husband, Sheldon, ahead of the 2020 election.

Others are likely to follow suit. In the hours following the verdict last week, a number of wealthy billionaires posted messages of support for Trump.

Among them was Silicon Valley investor David Sacks, who posted on X, formerly Twitter, that there “is now only one issue in this election: whether the American people will stand for the USA becoming a Banana Republic”.

On 6 June, Mr Sacks and fellow investor Chamath Palihapitiya, are planning to host a fundraiser for Trump in San Francisco. Attendees are reportedly being asked to contribute as much as $300,000.

Another potential donor, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, is expected to make an announcement on X in the coming days about supporting Trump.

While three years ago Mr Ackman said that Trump “should apologise to all Americans” in the wake of the US Capitol riot, the financier has since softened his tone and offered words of support to the former president online.

Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman – one of the most prominent billionaires on Wall Street – has already announced he will support Trump in the election.

Like Mr Ackman, Mr Schwarzman had previously distanced himself from the ex-president.

But in late May, Mr Schwarzman said that he shared “the concern of most Americans that our economic, immigration and foreign policies are taking the country in the wrong direction”.

He also said the “dramatic rise of antisemitism has led me to focus on the consequences of the upcoming election with greater urgency”.

Other prominent billionaires who have thrown their support behind Trump so far include hedge fund founders John Paulson and Robert Mercer, as well as fracking pioneer Harold Hamm and casino mogul Steve Wynn.

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz – who said after the US Capitol riot that he regretted voting for Trump in 2020 – has had a change of heart and hosted the former president at his oceanfront Florida mansion in March.

Elon Musk, on the other hand, has previously said he will not be donating to either candidate this electoral cycle, although he does plan to host a livestreamed town-hall style event with Trump.

Similarly, billionaire tech financier and prominent Republican donor Peter Thiel has reportedly turned down requests to donate to the Trump campaign and was said not to be planning any contributions this electoral cycle.

Shaun Maguire, a partner at prominent venture capital firm Sequoia, announced a $300,000 donation to Trump within minutes of last week’s verdict, arguing that the trial was unfair.

In a lengthy post on X, Mr Maguire outlined a number of reasons for supporting Trump, including the Biden administration’s handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and “weakness” in the Middle East.

The various legal cases against Trump, Mr Maguire added, also served as a “radicalising experience”.

“There’s a real chance President Trump is convicted of felony charges and sentenced to prison,” he wrote. “Bluntly, that’s part of why I’m supporting him. I believe our justice system is being weaponised against him.”

To date, the Biden campaign has largely surpassed the Trump campaign as far as fundraising.

By the end of April, the campaign had a record $192m cash-on-hand, compared to the Trump campaign’s $93.1m.

That same month, however, the Trump campaign raised $76m, surpassing their Democratic rivals for the first time in this election cycle. The Biden campaign raised $51m in April, sharply down from the $90m-plus raised a month earlier.

But despite all the fundraising, Professor Justin Buchler, a campaign finance expert from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, told the BBC: “Money is not going to be determinative.

“The primary role of money in a campaign is to increase name recognition. Everybody already knows who Donald Trump and Joe Biden are.”

A review of data from CBS, the BBC’s US partner, has found that Trump’s fundraising tends to enjoy a boost during key moments in his various legal battles.

Before last week’s conviction, his single best fundraising days were 4 April last year – the day of his arraignment in New York City – as well as 25 August, when a mugshot of him taken in Georgia was released.

The BBC has contacted the Trump and Biden campaigns for comment on the fundraising.



Source link

VirginiaDigitalNews.com