Jets owner Woody Johnson is privately lobbying GOP megadonors to donate to Trump’s campaign

US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he talks with US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson (L) getting ready to board Marine One to depart the US ambassador’s residence Winfield House in London on July 13, 2018.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

Billionaire and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is a part of a really small group inside former President Donald Trump’s inside circle: Wealthy supporters who’re prepared to make investments their very own private capital to persuade Republican megadonors to donate to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Not solely is Johnson backing Trump himself, he is additionally doing one thing much more vital: Lobbying members of the unofficial Republican billionaire’s membership to come again into Trump’s fold, mentioned a number of of Johnson’s allies who have been granted anonymity so as to relay non-public conversations.

“The gross sales pitch from staff Johnson has been ‘it is going to be Trump primarily based on the polling. Are you simply not going to get on the prepare as Trump heads to be the nominee?'” a Republican fundraiser acquainted with the engagement informed CNBC.

Beyond the outreach to fellow donors, Johnson has additionally signaled that he plans to assist set up and host fundraisers for Trump as the first season ramps up subsequent yr, when the pivotal caucus and first elections start, an individual shut to the Jets owner defined.

So far, most of the biggest names in Republican fundraising, like Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, metal magnate Andy Sabin and actual property titan Stephen Ross, are reluctant to “get on the prepare” with Trump. Several of them have said each privately and publicly that they have been disillusioned with the previous president after his first time period ended with the lethal Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol.

But not Johnson. A longtime private buddy of Trump’s and his ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2017-21, Johnson has informed buddies he is all in on serving to his onetime boss win again the White House in 2024, in accordance to folks acquainted with the matter.

CNBC Politics

Read extra of CNBC’s politics protection:

So far, they mentioned, none of Trump’s controversies, not the 91 criminal charges he faces in state and federal court docket, nor his continued false insistence that he gained the 2020 election, nor even the riot on Capitol Hill that has resulted in additional than 370 prison sentences to date, has chipped away at Johnson’s assist for Trump.

On the opposite, Johnson has remained personally shut to Trump all through his post-presidency. Since April, buddies of Johnson’s say he has taken half in conferences and attended small, non-public dinners with the previous president at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s non-public membership in Florida.

At a CNN city corridor in New Hampshire in May, the previous president publicly thanked a person he referred to as “Woody” and gestured throwing a soccer. At the time, it was unclear precisely what Trump was pointing at.

It was Johnson, an individual with direct data later informed CNBC, including that Trump’s staff had given the Jets owner and his aides particular tickets to the occasion.

Those shut to Johnson imagine that if Trump have been elected president in 2024, the billionaire would settle for a job in a second Trump administration, largely due to how a lot he loved his years as an envoy.

A spokesman for Johnson declined to remark. A consultant for the Jets and a spokesman for the Trump campaign didn’t return requests for remark.

An inheritor to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune with an estimated web price of simply over $3 billion, Johnson already donated $1 million to the pro-Trump tremendous PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., in April of this yr.

This contribution made Johnson one among solely seven donors who gave $1 million or extra to the PAC within the first half of this yr, in accordance to Federal Election Commission data.

But whereas only a few of Trump’s richest donors from 2016 and 2020 have donated to his present campaign, it’s not because they have been shelling out hundreds of thousands to assist his main opponents, both.

Robert Mercer and Rebekah Mercer attend the 2017 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City.

Patrick McMullan | Getty Images

Instead, key contributors like Rebekah Mercer and Peter Thiel, folks whose assist would ship an vital sign to the remainder of the donor class, seem to be sitting on the sidelines and ready to see how the crowded Republican main subject shakes out earlier than they make massive donations.

But the sheer proven fact that GOP donors are nonetheless ready to see what occurs, when one candidate is dominating the sector by 50+ factors is a testomony to how reluctant they’re to again Trump, and the way doggedly they’re holding out hope that one other Republican can win the nomination.

The newest Quinnipiac ballot showed the previous president successful 62% of assist within the GOP main, together with his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at simply 12%.

This hole between how sturdy Trump is polling versus how comparatively weak his assist is amongst main donors has added a contemporary urgency to Johnson’s calls to onetime contributors and their advisors to strive to get them again in Trump’s nook, in accordance to these acquainted with the outreach.

For now, Johnson’s position is nonetheless largely behind the scenes. Since Trump’s departure from the White House, the 2 males have solely had a number of public interactions.

One of them was at a rally final yr for TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz’s failed Senate campaign.

As he took the stage, Trump gave Johnson a shoutout.

“A buddy of mine who is an amazing businessman and an amazing particular person, Mr. Woody Johnson and his spouse Suzanne Johnson,” mentioned Trump.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *