Ronald Lauder, a billionaire, and Republican mega-donor has informed CNBC that he would not contribute to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy in 2024.
Lauder, an heir to the Estée Lauder business, is the latest Republican mega-donor to disassociate himself from Trump as he begins a third presidential candidacy. According to the independent campaign finance monitor OpenSecrets, Lauder gave over $100,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2019, when the political group was helping Trump’s reelection.
Lauder has known Trump since college, and the two have had a long friendship. While Trump was president, Lauder allegedly discussed the possibility of the United States purchasing Greenland. Lauder joins Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, and rich businessman Andy Sabin in opposing Trump’s new presidential candidacy.
Though his spokesperson did not specify who Lauder will support in 2024, Florida campaign finance records reveal that the billionaire businessman gave $10,000 to a political action committee backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ successful reelection bid last year. According to OpenSecrets, Lauder contributed $200,000 to DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
Though DeSantis has not yet declared his candidacy for president, he has emerged as the party’s top prospect after winning reelection in Florida by over 20 percentage points on Nov. 8. He has also not ruled out running against Trump in the Republican primaries.
Lauder has previously contributed to Republican-led campaigns in New York. According to state records, he contributed millions of dollars to Rep. Lee Zeldin’s gubernatorial campaign in 2022. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul defeated Zeldin, R-N.Y.
Prior to Election Day, Trump backed Zeldin.