Despite goading his supporters into donating just hours after his inauguration, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign reportedly isn’t doing too hot. Why? Because his main financial backers in 2016 have left him high and dry. Why? Because—as many a Republican has said as an excuse for supporting Trump—they claim they never really liked him in the first place.
According to a Monday report from Vanity Fair, some of Trump’s biggest financial supporters in the 2016 election, Robert Mercer, a former co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies and co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, his wife Diana, and their daughter Rebekah, have “drastically curtailed” their political donations as of late, and won’t be supporting Trump anywhere near the $15.5 million total they donated to get Trump elected in 2016—nor the $1 million they donated to his inaugural committee. From the magazine:
But in 2018 the Mercers donated only $400,000 to the pro-Trump Great America PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Their total political spending dropped to $2.9 million last year.
Alas, supporting Trump doesn’t seem to have been worth it. Instead, the Mercers were royally burned by their associations with the now-president, longtime friend and former (or soon-to-be?) Trump staffer Steve Bannon, his far-right website Breitbart, and the whole Cambridge Analytica disaster.
The best part is that the Mercer family claims they didn’t actually care about Trump in the first place—they just wanted someone to beat Socialist No. 1 Hillary Clinton (surprise, surprise). From Vanity Fair again, emphasis mine:
Sources said the Mercers cut back their spending because they felt scarred by the press scrutiny that followed their association with Trump...“This whole thing did not end up well for them,” former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg told me. “They’ve been destroyed,” a former West Wing official said. A former Renaissance executive said: “Bob views all his political spending as a bad investment.” (The Mercers did not respond to requests for comment.)
Another factor driving the Mercers off the national stage is that Trump was never their ideal candidate, despite the millions they spent helping him, sources told me. “They never really liked Trump,” the person close to the Mercers said. During the 2016 Republican primary, the Mercers put all their cards on Ted Cruz. The source recalled that Robert invited Kellyanne Conway, who was then working for a pro-Cruz super PAC, to his Florida mansion and told her to “beat Trump!” What seemed to be most driving the Mercers was a hatred of Hillary Clinton. “Trump was just Bob’s play against Hillary,” the former Renaissance executive said. “Bob said she and her husband were murderers who would destroy the country. He thought she was an evil person and a socialist.”
Apparently even the wealthiest among us still spend with their feelings.