MAGA fund founder backs DeSantis over Trump for president
A prominent Republican financier and former backer of former President Donald Trump is throwing his support behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the 2024 election.
Hal Lambert, founder of Texas-based Point Bridge Capital – which runs an investment fund named after Trump’s 2016 “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan – said it was time for Republicans to turn the page on the 76-year-old former president and leave for DeSantis, 44.
“I’m for DeSantis this time. I plan to do a lot to help DeSantis win,” Lambert told the Post.
Lambert’s “MAGA ETF,” an exchange-traded fund, invests in companies whose employees and political action committees broadly support Republican candidates.
The GOP donor — who served on Trump’s inaugural committee in 2016 — said he decided to support DeSantis after having dinner with the governor and his wife, Casey, in Florida three weeks ago and was left impressed.
He noted that DeSantis – who is expected to enter the presidential race this week – has a strong and successful conservative record as governor of the Sunshine State and is right on key issues such as border security, energy independence and the school choice.
“Ron is great at delivering a message,” Lambert said, adding that Casey DeSantis “is amazing.”
“She will be a real asset,” he added.
By comparison, Lambert said he was disheartened by Trump’s performance at a recent CNN town hall, where the former president repeated his lies about stealing the 2020 election.
“Which voters who did not vote for Trump in 2020 will vote for him this time based on his performance? I don’t think anyone will,” Lambert said, adding that Trump was too focused on the past.
“We can’t talk about things from four years ago that can’t be changed,” he said. “Trump is going to have a hard time winning the general election. The election will not be about Joe Biden’s poor record. Rather, it will be a referendum on Trump.
DeSantis, meanwhile, would provide a better contrast to 80-year-old President Biden than Trump on the debate stage, the fund manager noted.
“DeSantis is a leader who knows how to govern, not just have headlines and slogans,” Lambert said.
Still, Lambert acknowledged that Trump is a formidable adversary and “it’s going to be a battle” to defeat him.
“You have to beat Trump and not alienate Trump voters. We need them to win the general election,” he said.
But Lambert also claimed voter support for Trump in recent polls was overblown and predicted the race would narrow after DeSantis formally announced his candidacy.
“Trump support will fall below 50%,” Lambert said.
In early voting states, DeSantis could win the Iowa caucus and have a shot at defeating Trump in the GOP primary in New Hampshire, where Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is a Trump critic, Lambert said.
Lambert, of Fort Worth, Tx., said the U.S.-Mexico border disaster under Biden is hitting home.
But he claimed Trump was also a failure when it came to border security when he was president.
“With millions of illegals across the world crossing the border under Biden, it is a daily reminder that Trump has broken his number one campaign promise – build a wall and make Mexico pay. We have neither and our country will be forever changed,” Lambert said.
“Even with a Republican Congress, Trump couldn’t do that,” Lambert continued. “And yet, with a tied Senate, Biden was able to secure trillions in new spending, including $80 billion for the IRS. Trump could barely muster $5 billion for the wall. »
DeSantis, meanwhile, recently signed legislation that cracks down on illegal immigrants, which includes increasing penalties for human trafficking and banning local governments and other organizations from issuing immigration cards. identity to persons without legal status and invalidates all out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to persons in the United States unlawfully. New York and California issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
“DeSantis will be strong on border security,” Lambert said.
He also said DeSantis would promote energy policies that include fossil fuels, contrasting Biden and Democrats’ obsession with tackling climate change with green, cleaner energy.
“We cannot sit idly by and continue with the madness of going all electric and relying on wind and solar power. We have to have fossil fuels,” he said. DeSantis wants us to become energy independent.
DeSantis, widely seen as heading for a showdown against his former ally, Trump, in the Republican presidential primary, has already come under attack from the left, including with a preemptive spree launched by the NAACP in a row over its education policy.
Other mega-donors and bundlers previously told The Post they weren’t putting money behind Trump this time around.
A Trump campaign spokesperson touted the former president’s poll numbers in a statement Sunday and said support for DeSantis was sinking.
“President Trump is crushing every other candidate, and polling results — both nationally and statewide — show Americans are rallying behind the America First movement he built from the ground up. “, reads the press release. “Conversely, DeSantis’ shadow campaign is collapsing and his support has dropped to historic lows.”
New York Post