GOP megadonors want to move on from ‘three-time loser’ Trump, look to back DeSantis in 2024 presidential bid

Some GOP megadonors are looking past former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nominee in 2024, saying they’ll back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should he decide to launch a bid for the White House.

Following poor midterm results for Trump-backed candidates, the former president announced his third run for the White House on Tuesday from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

But three Republican megadonors, Ken Griffin, Andy Sabin and Stephen Ross, appear ready to move on from Trump.

Griffin, the billionaire founder of Citadel, a multinational hedge fund and financial services company, made comments supporting DeSantis over Trump on Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore before the former president’s re-election announcement.

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Ken Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel LLC.
(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg )

“I’d like to think that the Republican Party is ready to move on from somebody who has been for this party a three-time loser,” Griffin said, recounting Trump’s 2020 defeat, losing Georgia Senate seats in 2021 and the recent disappointing midterm results.

Griffin said that DeSantis is “going to run on a record of just unbelievable accomplishment” if he chooses to enter the race.

Griffin, who gave $5 million to DeSantis’ re-election race, has an estimated fortune $29 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Sabin, a New York-based businessman who owns Sabin Metal Corp., told CNBC that he plans to back DeSantis over Trump should the governor decide to run for president.

Former President Donald Trump announced that he was seeking another term in office and officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday night.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“I’m not going to give (Trump) a f—ing nickel,” Sabin said.

While Sabin donated $120,000 toward Trump’s failed 2020 reelection bid, he contributed $55,000 to the successful re-election campaign of DeSantis, the outlet reported, citing state campaign finance records.

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Sabin blamed Trump for the lackluster midterm results, saying he “endorsed candidates who were not necessarily qualified unless they said ‘I love you, Donald.'”

“At the end of the day, people stayed away because of Trump,” Sabin told the outlet.

Ross, a real estate developer and owner of the Miami Dolphins, said that he likes the idea of DeSantis as a potential GOP nominee for president in 2024, a person close to the billionaire told CNBC.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on the field before the NFL game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

He also gave $220,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC this year for the governor’s re-election campaign, the outlet reported.

While Ross has said he “liked” the former president and previously contributed to his re-election campaign, he has said that he isn’t blindly devoted to the former president.

“I’ve known President Trump for a long time. I’ve known him and I’ve liked him. I don’t agree with a lot of his policies. I believe there’s a lot of good, and I believe there’s a lot of bad,” Ross told The New York Times in 2020.

While megadonors appear to be rallying behind DeSantis, the Florida governor has been quiet about a bid for the White House in 2024.

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis waves to the crowd during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on Nov. 8.
(GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

However, just hours before Trump announced run for president, DeSantis responded to the former president’s attacks for the first time.

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“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis said, referring to the midterm election results.