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‘They have better things to do’ – Major Republican donors are staying away from

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference announcing a class action lawsuit against big tech companies at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 07, 2021 in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Several of the Republican Party’s biggest and most influential donors are signaling that they don’t plan on helping fund former President Donald Trump’s political operation, at least for the moment.

Wealthy financiers such as Stephen Ross and Larry Ellison have instead opted to spend money on the GOP’s efforts to take back Congress during next year’s midterm elections or have shown support for potential 2024 presidential candidates such as Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Donors are also concerned about how Trump’s organization is spending the piles of money it has raised from smaller donations.

“Big money, sophisticated people are just losing interest in this s— show,” said an advisor to longtime Trump allies in Silicon Valley. Many donors are tired of seeing the former president use his resources on rallies during which he often makes false claims including that the election was stolen from him, this person said.

Trump has not ruled out running for president in 2024, and he has not made any official announcements. His political action committees have raised a great deal of money through email and text message appeals to supporters that often criticize President Joe Biden’s performance, including, most recently, his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

The Trump PACs had over $100 million on hand after the first half of 2021. CNBC has previously reported that his PACs spent nearly $8 million on legal fees and over $200,000 on Trump’s properties earlier this year.

“Donors don’t contribute out of the goodness of their heart. And right now they’re being asked to donate to an organization that has no other purpose than pumping cash into someone who doesn’t need it and isn’t using it,” said a Republican strategist who represents financiers on Wall Street. “They have better things to do.” 

The donor consultants who spoke to CNBC declined to be identified in this story in order to avoid retribution from Trump and his supporters.

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The pro-Trump Make America Great Again Action super PAC, which raised over $1.5 million in July and August, is not without some wealthy donors, according to new Federal Election Commission filings. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is an ardent spreader of false claims about the 2020 election, is among its donors, as are businesswoman and former GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Texas banking executive Andrew Beal and casino magnate Phillip Ruffin.

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But bigger forces in Republican fundraising are instead focusing on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP leadership’s efforts to retake the House and funding pro-GOP redistricting efforts such as the National Republican Redistricting Trust. Others are helping the reelection campaigns of potential 2024 presidential contenders such as Scott, Rubio and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Several people who previously backed Trump held a fundraiser recently for DeSantis’ 2022 gubernatorial campaign in the upper-crust Hamptons on Long Island. The invitation to the July event shows that the co-hosts for the event included former Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with billionaire investors Stephen Ross, John Paulson and Ken Griffin. 

Paulson was one of the few Wall Street donors who backed Trump’s 2020 bid for president during the final stretch of the campaign.

Stephen Ross, who is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins, came under fire in 2019 when he hosted a fundraiser in the…

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