Trump Wins Over DeSantis’ Biggest Donor, Who Says America Needs ‘Strongest Commander’ Back

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ biggest donor said he’s now backing former President Donald Trump, who he said would likely be the ‘strongest commander.’
Trump Wins Over DeSantis' Biggest Donor, Who Says America Needs 'Strongest Commander' Back

Real estate tycoon Robert Bigelow, the biggest donor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign, said he’s now backing former President Donald Trump, in part because the security threat posed by the unrest in the Middle East requires the “strongest commander” and that the former president is the obvious choice.

Calling President Trump a “bull” and Mr. DeSantis “dinner,” Mr. Bigelow told The Financial Times in an interview Wednesday that he believes the former president’s campaign has built up significant steam, making him hard to beat.

“I think Trump is too strong,” Mr. Bigelow told the outlet. “I think Trump has the momentum, the inertia, to beat him.”

Mr. DeSantis said recently that President Trump should be removed from the Republican primary if he’s convicted in any of the cases against him.

‘Strongest Commander’

The Nevada real estate investor, who donated over $20 million to the DeSantis campaign earlier this year, said that the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war was a major factor behind his change of heart.

“I’ve got to look at who would probably be the strongest commander, with the most experience,” Mr. Bigelow told FT. “And that’s only one guy,” he continued, while calling President Trump “streetwise” and “a hell of an [expletive] kicker if he needed to be.”

“On the face of it, you lean toward Trump,” he added while weighing the question of who he would prefer to see in the role of America’s commander-in-chief in the face of unrest in the Middle East, which could spill across the region more widely, potentially triggering greater involvement by the United States, a key ally to Israel as it battles the Hamas terror group.

Mr. Bigelow said he backed Mr. DeSantis in part because of his efforts to push back against COVID-19 lockdowns and keep businesses open but that the deteriorating security situation in the Middle East had shifted the calculus.

He also objected to Mr. DeSantis’ hard line on abortion (he signed a bill in April banning abortion in Florida past six weeks), criticizing the Florida governor for being too focused on “conservatism” while suggesting President Trump would be more moderate.

By Tom Ozimek

Sent from Proton Mail for iOS