Silicon Valley Billionaire Says He’s Backing Trump Again
Silicon Valley Billionaire Says He’s Backing Trump Again

By Bill Pan

Doug Leone, a billionaire investor who renounced his support of President Donald Trump three years ago following the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, will once again back the former president’s reelection campaign.

“I have become increasingly concerned about the general direction of our country, the state of our broken immigration system, the ballooning deficit, and the foreign policy missteps, among other issues,” Mr. Leone wrote on X on Monday. “Therefore, I am supporting former President Trump in this coming election.”

Mr. Leone ran venture capital firm Sequoia from 1996 to 2022. One of President Trump’s biggest donors in the predominantly progressive Silicon Valley, he joined the Trump administration’s task force of some 200 business leaders in 2020 to advise the White House on reopening America’s economy at the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

In 2021, Mr. Leone condemned the role President Trump played in the Capitol breach, saying that the president has lost him as a supporter.

“The actions of the President and other rally speakers were responsible for inciting the rioters,” he said at that time. “We need to find the best way to move forward as a country, get behind our newly-elected President, and start working on the many difficult issues facing America.”

Despite the condemnation, Federal Election Commission records suggests that Mr. Leone and his wife Patricia—a prolific Republican donor—continued to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns and causes in the years after Jan. 6.

Mr. Leone is not the first billionaire to recently reaffirm support to President Trump’s campaign.

Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive and co-founder of real estate giant Blackstone, announced in late May he would back President Trump and other Republican candidates in November’s elections.

The billionaire had been a supporter of the former president while he was in the White House, but suggested that Republicans should look for a “new generation of leaders” following the 2022 midterm elections, during which some of Trump-endorsed candidates in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona lost their races.

However, according to Mr. Schwarzman, it was the “dramatic rise of anti-Semitism” in the United States that changed his mind and led him to “focus on the consequences of upcoming elections with greater urgency.”

“I share the concern of most Americans that our economic, immigration and foreign policies are taking the country in the wrong direction,” he said. “For these reasons, I am planning to vote for change and support Donald Trump for President.”

Trump Raises $141 million in May

Mr. Leone’s announcement of his renewed support comes days after President Trump was found guilty by a New York jury in a controversial trial stemming from a payment made to an adult film actress before the 2016 election. President Trump pleaded not guilty and dismissed the trial as a “rigged” and “very unfair” scheme to undermine his campaign for a second term.

The Trump campaign said it raised nearly $53 million in just 24 hours after a Manhattan jury found President Trump guilty of falsifying business records, making him the first U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

On Monday, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee said in a statement that the two entities together hauled in $141 million in May.

“This overwhelming financial success is the result of over 2 million donations, which came in at an average of $70.27,” they said, noting the fact that a quarter of those opening their wallets in May were first-time donors, making the month “the best so far this year.”

“We are moved by the outpouring of support for President Donald J. Trump. The American people saw right through Crooked Joe Biden’s rigged trial, and sent Biden and Democrats a powerful message—the REAL verdict will come on November 5th,” said Trump Campaign senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles.

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