Trump picks up backing from two major GOP donors

Former President Trump on Thursday picked up support from two major GOP donors, serving the latest blow to his GOP rivals as they struggle to make a dent in his sizable lead.

Robert Bigelow, one of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) most prominent donors, said he is switching his support from the Florida governor to Trump.

Bigelow, owner of the Budget Suites of America and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that DeSantis is “not strong enough,” nor is he the commander in chief the U.S. needs.

“At this point in time, we need the guy in the White House who scares the hell out of every other leader in the world who intends to do harm [to] to this country,” Bigelow told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday.

In an August interview with Reuters, Bigelow warned he would cut off funds to DeSantis’s 2024 campaign if he did not adopt a more “moderate approach.”

Backing Trump is a large shift for Bigelow, who initially threw his support behind DeSantis in April, when he told Time he could not support Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots.

Now Bigelow tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that despite being “bombastic” and “egotistical,” Trump still has proven himself as a president, telling the paper Trump “was a really good commander … which is what this country needs.”

Bigelow said he still wants to see the former president “get out of the kangaroo court problems that he’s involved in” and ensure he won’t be sent to jail before financially backing him, the Las Vegas-Review Journal reported.

The DeSantis campaign did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Top GOP donor and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus also announced his endorsement of Trump on Thursday, arguing the former president is the “simple choice” in a high-stakes political world.

In an op-ed with RealClearPolitics, Marcus, 94, said while he is “exhausted” by politics and wanted the younger generations to take the lead, he realized he could not walk away because “the stakes are just too high.”

“For Democrats, the choice is simple. If you feel that you are better off now than you were three years ago, you should vote for Joe Biden or whoever is the Democrat candidate,” Marcus wrote. “For Republicans, the choice is also simple. Let’s face it: Donald Trump is going to win the nomination. You should be doing all you can to ensure his winning the general election.”

Noting he understands the frustrations with Trump from some Republicans, he said the party “cannot let his brash style be the reason we walk away from his otherwise excellent stewardship of the United States during his first term in office.”

Pointing to issues with the U.S.-Mexico border, economy and education, Marcus warned these problems “cannot be our legacy” and that they should not be partisan issues.

“This should be an issue for all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — that I hope to reach with this op-ed. You enjoy the freedoms and values on which the nation was founded,” Marcus wrote. “Sadly, I see these freedoms and values being eroded today as government gets bigger and weaponized against its political opponents.”

The support comes on the heels of the third GOP presidential primary debate, which Trump notably did not attend. Despite his absence from the past GOP debates and his ongoing legal battles, the former president continues to hold a strong lead over his rivals.

When it comes to President Biden, the two rivals are often in a dead heat, though polling last weekend showed the incumbent trailing Trump in a head-to-head match-up.

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