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Trump and His Many Billionaire Enablers

Trump didn't get there on his own. Many have enabled him, especially the billionaires who funneled money his way and then stood by as he damaged our democracy.

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Donald Trump with major donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

We’ve heard plenty about the GOP members of Congress and Trump political appointees who have “enabled” Donald Trump over these four years, failing to act to stem his excesses.

But what about the billionaire donors to Trump’s campaign and his victory PACs?  Especially those who gave substantial donations in 2019 and 2020, when it was clear that Trump was causing a crisis in our democracy?

Unlike those who gave to the 2016 campaign but distanced themselves from Trump after seeing him in action, will there be any accountability for these most recent billionaire enablers of Donald Trump who saw what damage he caused–but still stood by him?

These are the billionaires who already received their whopping individual and corporate tax cuts in 2017.  Yet, empowered with their money, continued to contribute to Trump for four more years.

Watch for our forthcoming IPS report and reporting on “Trump’s Billionaire Enablers.”  But here are a few initial findings:

The Institute for Policy Studies identified 63 U.S. billionaires who gave a combined $33 million to the Trump Victory Fund in the last two years.  Trump Victory was a joint fundraising account for the Trump 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee.

As of January 8, these billionaires together have wealth of $243.7 billion dollars (using estimates from Wealth-X and Forbes).

Top Ten Billionaire Enablers.  The top ten billionaire donors to the Trump Victory Fund are:

  1. Gas pipeline magnate Kelcy Lee Warren, worth $2.9 billion, gave eight donations totaling $2,248,906.
  2. Retired CEO of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac Perlmutter, is worth $5.8 billion and donated $1,871,200.
  3. Telecommunications mogul Kenny Troutt, worth $1.5 billion, donated $1,849,000.
  4. Biotech investor Robert Duggan, worth $2.6 billion, donated $1,638,200 to the Trump Victory Fund. In the final days of the campaign, Duggan gave $4.6 million to various Trump campaign groups, according to Forbes.
  5. Casino magnate Steve Wynn, worth $3 billion, contributed over $1,523,500.
  6. Another casino owner, Phillip Gene Ruffin, worth $2.3 billion, donated $1,375,000.
  7. Owner of ABC Supply, the giant home supplier, Diane Hendricks $8 billion (Forbes), donated $1,175,000.
  8. Casino megadonor Sheldon Adelson, and his wife Miriam Adelson, worth over $35.9 billion (Forbes), contributed $1.16 million, along with massive donations to other Republican PACs and candidates.
  9. Texas Banker Daniel Andrew Beal, worth $7.5 billion, gave $1,161,200.
  10. Software entrepreneur David Duffield, worth $13.3 billion, donated $1,151,600.

Other notable billionaires to the Trump Victory Fund include:

  • Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, worth $20.9 billion, who gave $355,000.
  • Johnson & Johnson heir Robert Wood Johnson IV, worth $2.5 billion, contributed $935,000.
  • Hedge fund manager John Paulson, worth $4.2 billion, donated $831,372.
  • Heir to the cosmetic fortune, Ronald Steven Lauder, worth $5.2 billion, gave $100,000.
Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he also co-edits Inequality.org. Omar Ocampo is a researcher for the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies.