GOP megadonor: I’m ready to back DeSantis for president in ’24

Bronze-level giving by Griffin, 54, can be welcome information for one potential 2024 hopeful: Ron DeSantis. Throughout an interview in his momentary workplaces in downtown Miami, detailing how he directs his political contributions, Griffin informed POLITICO that he’s ready to again the Florida governor if he runs for the White Home. Griffin was the main donor to DeSantis’ reelection marketing campaign this cycle, dropping $5 million.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do. It’s an enormous private determination,” he stated of DeSantis. “He has an amazing file as governor of Florida, and our nation can be well-served by him as president.”

Griffin, the top of Citadel, an funding agency, has been donating to political campaigns for greater than 20 years, giving $5,000 and $10,000 increments in these early days to Republicans and Democrats alike when he was dwelling in Chicago. Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel, each Democrats, have been beneficiaries. And in 2008, he raised cash for each presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.

Again then, he was centered extra on giving to cultural establishments. A wing of the Artwork Institute of Chicago is known as after him, and a portion of the long-lasting Lakefront Path alongside Lake Michigan was improved together with his $16 million donation. He additionally gave $1 million to the Obama Basis in 2017.

Griffin, who pulled Republican ballots in Illinois, wrote a $500,000 examine for Joe Biden’s 2020 inaugural committee, however his donations have in any other case shifted rightward in recent times, fueled, he stated, by issues about public security, colleges and politicians’ lack of fiscal self-discipline. One mantra Griffin threads via his philanthropic and political giving is a concentrate on “defending the American dream for future generations.”

“Charitable giving was the lane that I used to be most centered on for a lot of, a few years of my life as a method of transferring society to a greater place,” Griffin stated. “Watching a lot of what I did on the philanthropic facet be undermined by poor insurance policies from our political sphere has pulled me extra into politics with a portion of my sources.”

Politically, he’s additionally uninterested in Donald Trump.

Griffin appreciated his fiscal insurance policies whereas within the White Home, however his solely monetary assist to Trump got here in donating $100,000 to his inaugural committee.

“He did lots of issues very well and missed the mark on some necessary areas,” Griffin stated. “And for a litany of causes, I believe it’s time to maneuver on to the following technology.”

Whereas he’s supporting considered one of this cycle’s largest tradition warriors in DeSantis, Griffin stated most hot-button points — abortion rights, battles over intercourse training and LGBTQ rights — don’t outline his pursuits. He desires to enhance the variety of the GOP and blunt the vein of populism that has difficult the social gathering’s relationship with the company world — two issues he’s consulted with Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy about.

Public security, nevertheless, is top-of-mind for him, and he uprooted his household and firm to his native Florida due to his concern about it in Chicago.

Amid the protests over the killing of George Floyd in 2020, a lot of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile business hall was smashed and looted. Griffin publicly feuded with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a fellow billionaire, about doing more to stop the destruction.

Griffin acknowledged that rising crime isn’t remoted to Chicago, and stated it’s “a major issue” in how he endorses candidates or campaigns. He shakes his head that in his greater than 30 years in Chicago, greater than 20,000 folks have been murdered, in response to Chicago Police Division statistics. Crime usually has been on the upswing across the nation in recent times, however murders have dropped in Chicago because the Nineteen Nineties.

Final month, Griffin gave $2.5 million to the Defending People Motion Fund, which works to elect conventional native prosecutors and district attorneys who run counter to the progressives working to scale back the variety of folks serving jail time for minor crimes. It’s a conservative group, however Griffin stated he doesn’t match the far-right mildew.

He’s additionally donated greater than $36 million to the College of Chicago Crime Lab, which research methods to scale back gun violence in addition to the harms of the felony justice system. That work consists of policing equity and effectiveness.

Griffin shrugs at populist actions which might be pushed by single points, whether or not its reproductive rights on the left or 2020 election denialism on the appropriate. However he stated he doesn’t count on to align with candidates on a regular basis on each situation.

For instance, Griffin openly disagreed with DeSantis’ provocative transfer to fly almost 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Winery this summer season. It struck a private chord with Griffin, who grew up in Boca Raton enjoying soccer with Latino immigrants.

And DeSantis’ blow up with Disney World — one of many state’s largest employers — this spring additionally ran afoul of Griffin’s concentrate on mending Republican relationships with company America. After the corporate criticized the governor and GOP-controlled state legislature for passing contentious LGBTQ laws, dubbed the “don’t say homosexual” regulation, DeSantis led a successful push to dismantle its longstanding “unbiased particular district” standing.

“I’ve no qualms with the very public struggle,” Griffin stated, “however the revocation of Disney’s particular tax district felt like retribution.”

Nonetheless, Griffin thinks there’s much more he likes concerning the Florida governor.

“Would I assist him? The larger query is, is he going to run? That bridge must be crossed,” he stated.

Griffin has been in a position to stroll the road between institution Republicans and the far proper, perhaps due to his wealth but additionally as a result of he doesn’t put himself in silos in the case of endorsing the best way Soros does on the left or Uihlein on the appropriate.

Throughout the 2022 cycle, Griffin sat down with GOP leaders to speak about endorsing ladies and minority candidates, which he sees as the way forward for the social gathering.

“Lots of the conversations with Kevin McCarthy about candidates are actually about ‘How will we deliver extra folks from totally different backgrounds into the Republican Occasion?’” Griffin stated. “Kevin is admittedly considerate about considering how to ensure minorities really feel the Republican Occasion is targeted on areas necessary to them, whether or not it’s training, crime or different points they care about.”

Griffin donated $50 million to a reasonable Black candidate for Illinois governor, Richard Irvin, who finally completed third to Trump-backed GOP nominee Darren Bailey. And he put money into Steve Kim, an Asian American candidate who ran for the state’s legal professional basic this yr. However he’s additionally showered marketing campaign money on a number of Republican candidates of coloration, together with Jennifer-Ruth Inexperienced in Indiana, Allan Fung in Rhode Island and Lori Chavez-DeRemer in Oregon.

Griffin stated it’s necessary to be engaged in authorities and politics, no matter social gathering affiliation, which carries into his firm, too.

“There are a considerable variety of my colleagues who’re actually passionate supporters of Democrats. I encourage that engagement and concentrate on supporting the candidates who they suppose are the strongest for the nation,” he stated.

However whereas Griffin is glad to again candidates who align together with his priorities, he will get repulsed by a number of the extra calculating components of politics.

He notably took offense to the Democratic Governors Affiliation’s strategy of promoting far-right GOP candidates throughout the primary season on the belief they might make for simpler takedowns within the basic election.

Whereas Irvin had his personal flaws as a candidate, the DGA additionally spent some $35 million to prop up the extra conservative Bailey, who Pritzker is predicted to defeat handily on Tuesday.

“That’s what I discover disgusting about politics,” Griffin stated of the political maneuvering. “The purpose of our elections, in my thoughts, is for our voters to have a alternative between two actually good candidates. They’re in fact going to disagree on the problems that Republicans and Democrats are inclined to disagree on, however that’s OK. That debate is wholesome for our nation.”

Leave a Reply

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