Republican Mega-Donor John Catsimatidis Will Not Support DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis INSET: Businessman John Catsimatidis
Alex Brandon/AP Photo/Kathy Willens, file

Another Republican mega-donor has publicly stated he will not support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should he choose to run for president in 2024.

John Catsimatidis, CEO of Gristedes, knocked DeSantis’s communication skills, telling the Washington Examiner that DeSantis does not even return his phone calls.

“Why would I support somebody to become president of the United States that doesn’t return phone calls?” he asked.

“Why do people contribute to people?” he asked. “They want to have access and to be able to have a discussion.”

He added that he has “never in 30 years of doing politics asked anybody for anything or a personal favor. Never.”

According to the Examiner, Catsimatidis in 2018 donated $15,000 to the DeSantis state campaign but gave even more, $600,000, to the Trump Victory fund the year after and into 2020.

Catsimatidis is hardly the only GOP mega donor voicing concerns about backing DeSantis, as many are reportedly having second thoughts about supporting him, should he run.

As Breitbart News detailed:

Rolling Stone, for instance, cites a group chat featuring many of these major donors — verified by the outlet — who expressed dissatisfaction with the way the governor has handled recent issues.

“What the fuck is wrong with RD?” one group member wrote, referencing DeSantis’s response — or lack thereof — to the major flooding in Fort Lauderdale. The governor was noticeably absent, traveling around the country and delivering speeches at the height of the historic issue. That week, he was in Ohio for the Butler County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day event and eventually declared a state of emergency for Broward County. He delivered a speech at Liberty University that same week and attended an event in New Hampshire, as well. Even former President Trump weighed in on his potential rival’s actions, telling Breitbart News, “He shouldn’t be campaigning right now. He should be there.”

Top Republican donor billionaire Thomas Peterffy is among mega donors who has openly put support for DeSantis “on hold” as well.

“Because of his stance on abortion and book banning . . . myself, and a bunch of friends, are holding our powder dry,” he said, adding that other donors are “waiting to see who among the primary candidates is most likely to be able to win the general, and then put all of our firepower behind them.”

Republican megadonor Ken Langone has also voiced concerns about backing DeSantis.

As Breitbart News reported:

Republican megadonor Ken Langone has similar concerns, also highlighting DeSantis’s move to sign a six-week abortion ban as an issue. According to MSN, he wishes DeSantis would “be a little more conciliatory” as well. Langone is also worried by what MSN described as the “resurgence of former president Donald Trump, who Langone previously backed but argues can’t win another general election.”

However, for Catsimatidis, the issue is very much rooted in the lack of communication.

“Everybody answers my phone calls. I’ve never had a situation like [this],” he said, adding that he does not want to give more funds to “somebody that doesn’t return phone calls,” even if he is a good governor.

“I would rule out supporting him at this point,” Catsimatidis said, according to the Examiner. “If you’re putting it in the same context of Donald Trump vs. Ron DeSantis, I would pick Donald Trump in a second.”

His decision comes as former President Donald Trump continues to dominate in the 2024 presidential field, leading DeSantis by 37 points in the latest Morning Consult survey.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump Jr. highlighted the issues DeSantis could run into seeking higher office, given his dependency on donors.

“He needs that money again to further the goal … so he’s got to act. When they say, “Jump,” he says “How high?” he said.” And that’s the nature of politics. It’s why they went after Trump so hard, in my opinion, because they don’t want other people who don’t need them in power, right?”

Don Jr. also warned that DeSantis could become their target at some point as well.

“It’s easy when you’re trying to pit someone against Trump because they’ll do whatever they can to help you so you can take out Trump,” he said.

“When you’re the guy, that’s a whole different world. That’s a whole different story. And that’s the way you’re gonna handle it when they’re doing it, you know. Generally speaking, how are you gonna do when you’re in the big show?” he asked.



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