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Billionaire GOP Donor Thinks DeSantis is Too Conservative

While Trump and his loyalists are calling DeSantis an establishment RINO, the governor’s stance on hot-button cultural issues is upsetting some in the uber-wealthy GOP donor class. Can both critiques be true?

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — One billionaire Republican donor isn’t happy with Ron DeSantis and won’t be opening his wallet for the governor any time soon.

DeSantis’ bold stance on polarizing cultural issues endeared him to the nation and helped produce his landslide election victory in November, but a new report suggests it’s upsetting some mega-rich Republican supporters.

Thomas Peterffy told The Financial Times that he and “a bunch of friends” are withholding fundraising support from DeSantis due to “his stance on abortion and book banning.”

“I am more reluctant to back him,” Peterffy said. “We are waiting to see who among the primary candidates is most likely to be able to win the general, and then put all of our firepower behind them.”


Peterffy’s comments indicate that high-profile donors are looking at polls, several of which have shown Trump enjoying a surge in popularity following his recent indictment.

“DeSantis seems to have lost some momentum,” Peterffy said, adding that the governor’s odds of beating Trump in a primary have declined since the start of the year.

Peterffy supported Trump for reelection in 2020, but has since declared that he won’t donate to him in 2024. Other billionaires – including Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman – have done the same, according to the FT.


Media outlets and others on the Left have done their best to paint the governor as an extreme conservative. Accusations of “book bans” have emboldened Democrats to call DeSantis a “fascist.” DeSantis and his administration have fought to help parents remove sexually explicit books from public schools, but the state has not discussed any restrictions on books outside of those made available to children via taxpayer dollars.

On the issue of abortion, DeSantis has avoided drawing a line in the sand – instead opting for general statements such as: “I just think we’re better when everybody counts.” Nevertheless, his opponents are painting him as extreme for signing a bill last week that prohibits killing a fetus after six weeks of gestation.

Trump – who was no champion for the preborn during his four years as president – has done his best to paint the governor as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). Last month, Trump called DeSantis a disciple of “RINO loser” Paul Ryan and compared the governor to Mitt Romney.