Ken Griffin, Citadel
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Billionaire and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, a major Republican donor, says he is sitting on the sidelines of the GOP presidential primary and not supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who he backed in 2022.
Griffin is not impressed with what he’s seeing from the alternatives to front-runner Donald Trump and has yet to decide who he plans to help, he said in an interview with CNBC’s Sara Eisen set to air Monday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
“I’m still on the sidelines as to who to support in this election cycle,” Griffin said. “Look, if I had my dream, we’d have a great Republican candidate in the primary who was younger, of a different generation, with a different tone for America. And we’d have a younger person on the Democratic side in the primary, who would have his message for our country.”
With two younger, fresher candidates, “We’d have a debate around ideas and principles and policies to make this a great nation,” he said. “We’re not having that dialogue right now.”
Griffin has an estimated net worth of $35 billion, and he gave more than $100 million during the 2022 midterms to a mix of a state and federal candidates, with almost all of it going toward Republicans. Griffin gave $5 million in 2021 to a political action committee backing DeSantis’ successful reelection bid, according to state campaign finance records.
His sidelining in the GOP primary means, at least for now, one of the party’s biggest contributors will not be putting his considerable financial resources toward a candidate challenging Trump’s enormous advantage.
The former president leads the primary field by at least 50 percentage points, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.
Each day that passes with donors like Griffin staying out of the Republican primary is a day the money race accrues to Trump’s benefit.
“As the presidential campaigns unfold, I am assessing how the policies of each candidate will address the challenges facing our country,” Griffin said later in a statement to CNBC. “I care deeply about individual rights and freedom, economic policies that encourage prosperity and upward mobility, all children having access to a high-quality education, ensuring our communities are safe, and a strong national defense.”
As for DeSantis, Griffin doesn’t understand the strategy of the Florida governor’s presidential campaign.
Before the Florida governor launched a run for the White House, Griffin said “our country…