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Blackstone CEO Schwarzman re-embraces Trump for 2024 elections

By Clive McKeef

Ahead of this year's Republican primaries Schwarzman had called for "a new generation of leaders"

Blackstone chairman and CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, will support Donald Trump in the November U.S. presidential elections as a "vote for change", giving Trump access to a network of Republican party donors, after earlier expressing the need for new Republican party leadership, Axios has reported.

The billionaire private equity and real estate group CEO had long been a moderate Republican and a supporter of Trump when he was president between 2016 and 2020.

Schwarzman served as chair of Trump's short-lived council of business executives, which was disbanded after many CEOs defected in the wake of Trump's response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Schwarzman, 77, is one Wall Street's biggest Republican donors and in the 2020 election cycle, he donated more than $35 million to entities supporting Trump and other Republican candidates, according to OpenSecrets, a non-profit that tracks campaign finance and lobbying data, Bloomberg reported.

Schwarzman's support ranked him among the biggest Republican donors along with Citadel's Ken Griffin, Uline Inc. co-founders Richard Uihlein and Elizabeth Uihlein and quant trader Jeffrey Yass.

However, ahead of this year's Republican primaries Schwarzman called for "a new generation of leaders".

Schwarzman also called on Trump to move on from his 2020 defeat as Trump's supporters tried to overturn the election and after the Republicans' poor midterm performance in the 2022 Congressional elections, Schwarzman was reported to be looking for a next-generation presidential candidate in 2024.

"America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday," Schwarzman said in November 2022. "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," according to Axios.

During this year's presidential primary votes, Schwarzman gave $2 million to the super PAC allied to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the most vehement critic of Trump among his challengers for the nomination, according to Bloomberg.

Schwarzman's concern about rising antisemitism and concern about some of President Biden's policies led him to re-embrace Trump though, Axios reported.

"The dramatic rise of antisemitism has led me to focus on the consequences of upcoming elections with greater urgency," he told Axios.

Trump and Republicans have sought to exploit Democratic divisions over policy on Israel's invasion of Gaza and cast Biden as weak on antisemitism, especially as pro-Palestinian protests have roiled college campuses.

"I share the concern of most Americans that our economic, immigration and foreign policies are taking the country in the wrong direction. For these reasons, I am planning to vote for change and support Donald Trump for President. In addition, I will be supporting Republican Senate candidates and other Republicans up and down the ticket," Schwarzman told Axios.

Even before Friday's report, Schwarzman had in March donated $375,000 to Buckeye Values, a super PAC supporting Ohio Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno which subsequently staged Trump rallies, campaign finance records, according to CNBC.

However, Trump has also been criticized for associating with prominent antisemites and has attacked Jewish voters who support Biden.

"If Jewish people are going to vote for Joe Biden, they have to have their head examined," Trump said earlier this month, while also claiming that Jewish Democrats "hate Israel and "their religion," according to Axios.

Meanwhile, Jon Gray, Blackstone's president and COO, and heir apparent to Schwarzman, still backs Biden and is a big Democratic donor.

Tom Nides, formerly Biden's ambassador to Israel, joined Blackstone in January as vice chairman for strategy and client relations.

Schwarzman made $896.7 million in pay and dividends in 2023, a 30% drop from a year earlier, yet still one of the biggest annual payouts on record in high finance. He is worth $42 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

-Clive McKeef

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


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05-25-24 1032ET

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