Report: Blackstone’s Schwarzman Jumps Aboard Trump Train

Stephen Schwarzman, a key figure in the Republican donor community, has thrown his support behind Donald Trump.

Schwarzman—who co-founded and leads Blackstone, a major private equity firm—revealed his endorsement of Trump in a statement to Axios’ Dan Primack and Mike Allen.

On Friday, Schwarzman announced his plans to contribute to Trump’s campaign and several Republican Senate races, as per his exclusive statement to Axios.

This endorsement could be a major financial asset for Trump, unlocking a vast network of Republican donors that Schwarzman has built. It may also lead to a reevaluation of Trump by previously hesitant business leaders.

Schwarzman, a billionaire known for his moderate Republican stance, was a supporter of Trump during his presidency—and sometimes an informal advisor on issues of trade and economics. Yet, ahead of this year’s GOP primaries, he advocated for a “new generation of leaders” and refrained from backing any candidate.

Schwarzman was a sometimes polarizing figure during the Trump presidency. He has been called the “China whisperer” for his close connections to the Chinese government and China’s business leaders. When Trump was in the White House, Schwarzman was often perceived to be urging the president to soften his stance on trade with China.

In his bestseller Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win, Peter Schweizer describes Schwarzman as jokingly claiming he served both as the “unofficial U.S. ambassador to China” as well as the “unofficial Chinese ambassador to the U.S.”

Schweizer reported in the book that Schwarzman launched a $100 million plan to create a global education scholarship program in China to rival the Rhodes Scholarships offered at Oxford University. “A Wall Street financier worth billions, courtesy of the free market system, is funding courses in Marxism-Leninism and a program that preaches the superiority of Chinese communism over American capitalism,” Schweizer wrote.

Unlike some of Trump’s allies from America’s business community and the financial sector, Schwarzman stuck by the president following the 2017 violence in  Charlottesville, insisting that reports that he was outraged at Trump’s remarks about the incident were not true.

Axios reports that insiders close to Schwarzman attribute his return to the Trump camp to rising concerns about antisemitism and dissatisfaction with President Biden’s policies.

“The dramatic rise of antisemitism has led me to focus on the consequences of upcoming elections with greater urgency,” Schwarzman told Axios. “I share the concern of most Americans that our economic, immigration, and foreign policies are taking the country in the wrong direction. For these reasons, I am planning to vote for change and support Donald Trump for President. Additionally, I will be supporting Republican Senate candidates and other Republicans across the ticket.”

This marks a departure from Schwarzman’s previous position. In November 2020, he urged Trump to concede his defeat in the election. After the Republicans’ poor showing in the midterm elections, Schwarzman informed Axios he was seeking a new-generation candidate for the 2024 elections.

“America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman remarked in November 2022. “It is time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders, and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries.”

Schwarzman joins the parade of GOP officials and supporters who have recently come around to supporting Trump as the November election nears. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a former rival for the GOP presidential nomination, revealed during a speech at the Hudson Institute on Wednesday that she plans to vote for former President Donald Trump in the upcoming election.

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