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Blackstone boss Stephen Schwarzman endorses Donald Trump

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Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman endorsed Donald Trump for president as a “vote for change,” the latest sign that Republican megadonors who had been critical of the former president are rallying behind him.

The private equity billionaire had broken with Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and endorsed Trump critic Chris Christie in the Republican primary. He donated $2 million to Tell It Like It Is, a super Pac supporting the former New Jersey governor, and gave a smaller amount to Republican Sen. Tim Scott.

But in a statement, Schwarzman cited “the dramatic rise in anti-Semitism” as part of the reason for returning to Trump’s camp, adding that he believed President Joe Biden’s policies were wrong.

“I share the concern of most Americans that our economic, immigration and foreign policies are taking the country in the wrong direction,” Schwarzman said in a statement Friday. “For these reasons, I plan to vote for change and support Donald Trump as president.”

Schwarzman’s announcement could herald the start of more Wall Street money flowing to the former president, who has been tapping finance, technology and energy billionaires for cash injections as he trails Biden in the race. for fundraising.

Trump rampaged through Texas on Wednesday to raise money from oil tycoons who are unhappy with Biden’s environmental and climate agenda. Continental Resources Chairman Harold Hamm and Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub were among the energy moguls who greeted Trump in the southern state.

Last month, hedge fund billionaire John Paulson hosted a fundraiser for Trump in Florida that the campaign said raised more than $50 million.

With Schwarzman on board, more big names in the financial sector could start making their own endorsements. There are questions about what Wall Street Republican mega-donors like Ken Griffin and Paul Singer will do after former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who ran against Trump in the primary, recently announced her support for Trump. They both donated millions to her presidential bid.

Schwarzman was once an ally of Trump, donating millions to support his re-election in 2020 and defending his actions to other CEOs immediately after his loss to Biden that year.

In 2017, the Blackstone boss chaired an advisory board to then-President Trump and traveled with him to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh then pledged to match up to $20 billion in contributions from other investors to a Blackstone infrastructure fund.

The advisory panel disbanded shortly after Trump proclaimed there was “blame on both sides” for a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In November 2020, Schwarzman defended the president’s right to challenge the election results in court. But after a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021, he condemned the “appalling” insurrection “that followed the president’s remarks.”

Following the Republicans’ disappointing midterm elections in 2022, the Republican megadonor said he would not support Trump and would look for “a new generation of leaders.”

On Friday, Schwarzman said he would also endorse Republican candidates in the U.S. Senate and in runoff elections. Axios first reported his decision to endorse Trump.

Additional reporting by Antoine Gara in New York

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