Trump Taps Silicon Valley, DeSantis Donors in Campaign Cash Hunt

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s campaign is aiming for a fundraising boost from Silicon Valley donors and supporters of former rival Ron DeSantis, potential cash troves that could help him close a wide cash gap with President Joe Biden.

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Venture capitalist David Sacks — who backed DeSantis in the Republican primary — and tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya are in talks with Trump’s team about holding a fundraiser next month for Trump at Broadcliff, Sacks’s San Francisco home, a person familiar with the matter said. The pair has invited Trump to participate in a taping of their podcast All In that would take place during the fundraiser.

Oculus VR and Anduril Industries Inc. founder Palmer Luckey is also hosting a Trump fundraiser June 8 in Newport Beach, California, according to an invitation for the event.

DeSantis, who challenged Trump for the Republican nomination, has also begun planning fundraisers for his former opponent. Trump and the Florida governor met late last month, their first in-person meeting since the primary. Within days of that, top finance officials from the governor’s failed presidential campaign began making plans for fundraisers, according to a person familiar with the situation. They are arranging events for DeSantis to woo donors for Trump in Florida, Texas and, possibly, California, the person said.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request to comment on the fundraisers.

The heightened interest is a boon to a Trump campaign that has fallen well behind Biden’s fundraising totals. The latest federal filings show that Biden had a nearly $100 million cash lead over Trump.

Trump has alienated some of the GOP’s major donors, but he’s beginning to win over contributors as he cements his hold on the party. Sacks hasn’t donated to Trump before. Hotel and aerospace magnate Robert Bigelow, who was DeSantis’s biggest donor, is supporting Trump in the general election.

Citadel’s Ken Griffin, one of the largest Republican donors who has yet to donate to Trump, said on Tuesday he is waiting to see who Trump taps as a running mate before deciding if he’ll support him. Griffin is slated to attend a political event next month with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who is one of the people Trump is eying for the No. 2 spot on the presidential ticket.

DeSantis’s team is trying “to mine as many donors as we can within our base who have not already given to former President Trump,” said Roy Bailey, who helped Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns and DeSantis’s 2024 primary bid with fundraising.

“When he does that it will create a lot of value because it is money that former President Trump won’t have to go get himself,” Bailey said in an interview Tuesday.

In recent weeks, Trump has spent much of his time — when he’s not in a New York City courtroom on trial — attending fundraisers, instead of campaigning in battleground states. Trump is required to spend multiple days a week at his criminal trial in Manhattan involving hush-money payments. He also faces three other indictments where the trials are pending. He has tapped money from his political operation to cover his legal bills, which have further drained his campaign cash.

On Tuesday, billionaires Howard Lutnick, John Paulson and Woody Johnson hosted a fundraiser for Trump in New York. Continental Resources Inc. Chairman Harold Hamm and Energy Transfer LP Chairman Kelcy Warren are also hosting an event in Texas next week.

Biden has also been tapping Silicon Valley donors for his campaign. Last week, he traveled to California to attend fundraisers, including events hosted by former Yahoo chief executive officer Marissa Mayer and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.

--With assistance from Julie Fine, Bill Allison, Jennifer Jacobs and Emily Chang.

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