Jets proprietor Woody Johnson helps Trump 2024 marketing campaign
US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he talks with US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson (L) making ready to board Marine One to depart the US ambassador’s residence Winfield Home in London on July 13, 2018.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Pictures
Billionaire and New York Jets proprietor Woody Johnson is a part of a really small group inside former President Donald Trump’s interior circle: Rich supporters who’re keen to speculate their very own private capital to persuade Republican megadonors to donate to Trump’s presidential marketing campaign.
Not solely is Johnson backing Trump himself, he’s additionally doing one thing much more vital: Lobbying members of the unofficial Republican billionaire’s membership to come back again into Trump’s fold, stated a number of of Johnson’s allies who had been granted anonymity with a view to relay non-public conversations.
“The gross sales pitch from workforce Johnson has been ‘it will be Trump based mostly on the polling. Are you simply not going to get on the prepare as Trump heads to be the nominee?'” a Republican fundraiser accustomed to the engagement informed CNBC.
Past the outreach to fellow donors, Johnson has additionally signaled that he plans to assist manage and host fundraisers for Trump as the first season ramps up subsequent yr, when the pivotal caucus and first elections start, an individual near the Jets proprietor defined.
To this point, most of the largest names in Republican fundraising, like Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, metal magnate Andy Sabin and actual property titan Stephen Ross, are reluctant to “get on the prepare” with Trump. A number of of them have stated each privately and publicly that they had been disillusioned with the previous president after his first time period ended with the lethal Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol.
However not Johnson. A longtime private buddy of Trump’s and his ambassador to the UK from 2017-21, Johnson has informed associates he’s all in on serving to his onetime boss win again the White Home in 2024, in keeping with individuals accustomed to the matter.
To this point, they stated, none of Trump’s controversies, not the 91 prison fees he faces in state and federal court docket, nor his continued false insistence that he gained the 2020 election, nor even the riot on Capitol Hill that has resulted in additional than 370 jail sentences to this point, has chipped away at Johnson’s assist for Trump.
Quite the opposite, Johnson has remained personally near Trump all through his post-presidency. Since April, associates of Johnson’s say he has taken half in conferences and attended small, non-public dinners with the previous president at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s non-public membership in Florida.
At a CNN city corridor in New Hampshire in Might, the previous president publicly thanked a person he referred to as “Woody” and gestured throwing a soccer. On the time, it was unclear precisely what Trump was pointing at.
It was Johnson, an individual with direct data later informed CNBC, including that Trump’s workforce had given the Jets proprietor and his aides particular tickets to the occasion.
These near Johnson imagine that if Trump had been elected president in 2024, the billionaire would settle for a job in a second Trump administration, largely on account of how a lot he loved his years as an envoy.
A spokesman for Johnson declined to remark. A consultant for the Jets and a spokesman for the Trump marketing campaign didn’t return requests for remark.
An inheritor to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune with an estimated web price of simply over $3 billion, Johnson already donated $1 million to the pro-Trump tremendous PAC, Make America Nice Once more Inc., in April of this yr.
This contribution made Johnson one in all solely seven donors who gave $1 million or extra to the PAC within the first half of this yr, in keeping with Federal Election Fee information.
However whereas only a few of Trump’s richest donors from 2016 and 2020 have donated to his present marketing campaign, it isn’t as a result of they’ve been shelling out thousands and thousands to assist his major opponents, both.
Robert Mercer and Rebekah Mercer attend the 2017 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Middle on April 25, 2017 in New York Metropolis.
Patrick McMullan | Getty Pictures
As a substitute, key contributors like Rebekah Mercer and Peter Thiel, individuals whose assist would ship an vital sign to the remainder of the donor class, seem like sitting on the sidelines and ready to see how the crowded Republican major area shakes out earlier than they make large donations.
However the sheer undeniable fact that GOP donors are nonetheless ready to see what occurs, when one candidate is dominating the sector by 50+ factors is a testomony to how reluctant they’re to again Trump, and the way doggedly they’re holding out hope that one other Republican can win the nomination.
The newest Quinnipiac ballot confirmed the previous president successful 62% of assist within the GOP major, together with his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at simply 12%.
This hole between how sturdy Trump is polling versus how comparatively weak his assist is amongst main donors has added a recent urgency to Johnson’s calls to onetime contributors and their advisors to attempt to get them again in Trump’s nook, in keeping with these accustomed to the outreach.
For now, Johnson’s position continues to be largely behind the scenes. Since Trump’s departure from the White Home, the 2 males have solely had just a few public interactions.
Considered one of them was at a rally final yr for TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz’s failed Senate marketing campaign.
As he took the stage, Trump gave Johnson a shoutout.
“A buddy of mine who is a good businessman and an excellent particular person, Mr. Woody Johnson and his spouse Suzanne Johnson,” stated Trump.