Billionaire Ken Griffin, a former DeSantis donor, is not participating in the Republican presidential primary


Ken Griffin, The Citadel

Scott Milin | CNBC

Billionaire Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, a major Republican donor, says he is sitting on the sidelines of the GOP presidential primary and is not supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom he backed in 2022.

Griffin is unimpressed with what he sees as alternatives to front-runner Donald Trump and has not yet decided who he plans to help, he said in an interview with Sarah Eisen on CNBC, scheduled to air Monday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

“So we’re — we’re now done with the first debate. And I’ll tell you what, I’m still on the sidelines as to who I’m going to support in this election cycle. I’m still on the sidelines.” Griffin said. “Look, if I had my dream, we would have a great Republican candidate in the primary who would be younger, from a different generation, with a different tone for America. And we would have someone younger on the Democratic side in the primary.” Who would carry his message for our country. We will have a debate about ideas, principles and policies to make this a great nation. “We are not having that dialogue at the moment.”

Marginalizing Griffin, who has estimated A net worth of $35 billion suggests that one of the party’s largest contributors will not immediately lend his extensive financial resources to support any of the candidates opposed to Trump. Griffin gave more than $100 million during the 2022 midterm elections to a mix of state and federal candidates, with nearly all of that going toward Republicans.

The former president leads the Republican primary by at least 50 percentage points, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

“As the presidential campaigns unfold, I am evaluating how each candidate’s policies will address the challenges facing our country,” Griffin later said in a statement to CNBC. “I care deeply about individual rights and freedom, economic policies that encourage prosperity and advancement, access to a high-quality education for all children, ensuring the safety of our communities, and a strong national defense.”

As for DeSantis, Griffin doesn’t understand the Florida governor’s presidential campaign strategy. The Citadel CEO backed DeSantis during his 2022 re-election campaign and said last year, before the Florida governor began his campaign for the White House, Which “He will serve our country well as president.”

“I don’t know his strategy,” Griffin said, referring to DeSantis’ 2024 campaign. “It’s not clear to me what voter base he intends to attract.” The latest Quinnipiac poll showed DeSantis with 12% support to Trump’s 62% in the GOP primary.

“First term governor — just a great job,” Griffin added. “But that’s not what’s happened in the last few months.”

Griffin told CNBC that one of his issues with DeSantis as governor is his constant battle with him Disney. “I believe the ongoing battle with Disney is pointless. In fact, it does not reflect well on the spirit of Florida,” Griffin said.

The battle between DeSantis and Disney began last year, when the company said it opposed Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which… to forbid Instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for students in public schools.

After Disney opposed the bill, DeSantis and his allies targeted the special tax district that had allowed Disney to effectively self-govern its Orlando-area theme parks for decades. Disney and DeSantis are now in the midst of a lawsuit.

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