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Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman won’t help Trump

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman listens to U.S. President Donald Trump during Trump’s strategy and policy forum with chief executives of major U.S. companies at the White House in Washington February 3, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Blackstone CEO and Republican megadonor Steve Schwarzman has no plans to fund former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign for the White House — at least not in the GOP primary.

“America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman said in a statement to CNBC on Wednesday, the morning after Trump launched his 2024 White House bid.

“It is time for the Republican party to turn to a new generation of leaders and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries,” he said.

Schwarzman’s statement was reported earlier by Axios. His decision to move his money away from Trump follows a CNBC report Tuesday that other big money Republican donors, including Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, would defect from Trump in his bid for the 2024 GOP nomination.

Schwarzman did not say which other potential candidates he would support instead of Trump. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, among others, has not ruled out facing off against Trump in the presidential primary.

The moves come as some Republicans privately view Trump as toxic to the party’s fortunes. In last week’s midterm elections, nearly all of the candidates the former president latched on to in swing-state races for governor, secretary of state and U.S. Senate — including prominent deniers of the fact that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election — lost.

Schwarzman, once one of Trump’s most prominent backers on Wall Street, criticized the former president after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“The insurrection that followed the President’s remarks today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” Schwarzman said in a statement at the time. “I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our Constitution. As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”

Schwarzman first allied himself with Trump late in the 2016 presidential election. But prior to his decision to support Trump’s first successful run for president, he contributed $100,000 to Right to Rise, a super PAC that backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, according to OpenSecrets.

Bush ended up losing to Trump in the primary. Schwarzman later backed the New York businessman as he defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election.

Since Trump’s initial run for president, Schwarzman has become one the Republican Party’s biggest donors. During the 2020 presidential election, he donated $3 million to America First Action, a super PAC that backed Trump’s candidacy, according to OpenSecrets.

The Blackstone CEO and his wife combined to give over $35 million toward their preferred candidates that cycle, with the vast majority of their donations going toward Republicans.

Schwarzman was among the top 10 donors during the 2022 midterms, which appear likely to lead to a narrow Republican majority in the House. Democrats managed to maintain control of the Senate.

Schwarzman alone gave just north of $35 million this cycle to Republicans running for congressional seats.

— CNBC’s Kayla Tausche contributed to this report

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