Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire CEO of private equity giant Blackstone Inc., is the latest of former President Donald Trump’s richest allies to disavow his third run for the presidency.
Schwarzman told Axios that Trump, whom the CEO advised while he was in the Oval Office, will not have his support in the 2024 race. His remarks come one day after the former president officially launched his long-teased campaign.
“America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman said, adding, “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.”
Schwarzman was a top donor to Trump’s 2020 campaign, contributing $3 million to a pro-Trump super PAC. Now he joins GOP megadonor Ken Griffin on the list of deep-pocketed conservatives who say they’re steering clear of Trump in 2024.
Griffin said he’s leaning toward Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, currently Trump’s most-hyped potential rival.
Trump’s favored candidates roundly lost their midterm elections, fueling Republican doubts that the former president, who has not backed down from his claims of a stolen 2020 election, can be a viable party leader.
Schwarzman was reported to have been a longtime friend of Trump. During Trump’s presidency, Schwarzman was appointed chairman of his Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of business leaders who advised Trump on the economy for several months before the group was disbanded amid multiple resignations.
Financial Times reported shortly after the 2020 election that Schwarzman entertained some of Trump’s stolen election theories and downplayed the possibility of a Trump-led coup. Schwarzman later told Axios that now-President Joe Biden’s win was “very certain, and the country should move on.”
After the Jan. 6 Capitol storming, Schwarzman sent a note to employees calling the event an “insurrection” and “an affront to the democratic values we hold dear,” but did not blame Trump for any of the violence, the New York Times reported.