GOP Megadonor Switches from Ron DeSantis: ‘I’m Pro-Trump’

de santis trump
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Republican megadonor Robert Bigelow, who once stood as the biggest individual donor supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign, appears to be switching his loyalties, now identifying himself as “pro-Trump.”

Speaking to Reuters, Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, said he is “pro-Trump” but is waiting to see how the former president’s legal woes pan out before formally contributing to his campaign.

“I’m pro-Trump. Right now, I’m determined to remain on the sidelines for the time being to see how these prosecutions play out,” he said. “I have to be sure that he does not have a position where the prosecution has a path to send him to jail.”

Unlike many supporters who have made it clear that they would support Donald Trump, even if the former president went to jail, Bigelow is not taking that risk.

“He’s got to stay out of jail. You can’t run the United States from jail,” he said, as Reuters noted that the megadonor personally believes the mounting cases against Trump are “politically motivated.”

“Bigelow said he would be open to supporting Trump financially if he was convicted but only received a probationary sentence,” Reuters reported, admitting that the megadonor’s support would not serve as a turning point for the Trump campaign, as he is already the runaway frontrunner and relies on small-dollar donors.

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Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News

While it is true that Bigelow has supported DeSantis throughout 2023, donating $20 million to the pro-DeSantis PAC Never Back Down in March, this shift is a long time coming. In August, the entrepreneur signaled that he would withhold donations to DeSantis unless he made major changes in his campaign — changes to attract more supporters.

“Not until I see that he’s able to generate more on his own. I’m already too big a percentage,” he said, noting that “a lot of his donors are still on the fence.”

As Breitbart News reported in July:

Republican megadonor Ken Griffin is also reconsidering his support for DeSantis after previously claiming, “our country would be well-served by him as president,” months before DeSantis launched his campaign.

Griffin is one of several donors who supported DeSantis’s gubernatorial campaigns but are shying away from contributing to his presidential campaign. Former Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter — who donated, with his wife, over $2 million to DeSantis’s gubernatorial reelection campaign — is planning to support Trump’s third White House bid with a “meaningful” contribution, CNBC reported.

Billionaire Ronald Lauder, who donated more than $200,000 to DeSantis’s gubernatorial campaigns, is now considering throwing his financial support to Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Politico reported.

At the time, the DeSantis campaign released a memo to reassure donors, outlining its strategy of focusing on New Hampshire and other early primary and caucus states rather than Super Tuesday states. However, it appears that strategy has failed to translate to higher poll numbers, as DeSantis is falling behind Trump and, in some cases, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in early states.

Thursday’s RealClearPolitics (RCP) average of polls showed DeSantis down by an average of 30.3 percent in Iowa, 38.5 percent in South Carolina, and 36 percent in New Hampshire.

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