Schwarzman pulls support from Trump ahead of 2024 run
The billionaire alumni and megadonor, whose prior support of Donald Trump sparked controversy among students and faculty, announced that he would not support the ex-president’s 2024 run.
Zoe Berg, Senior Photographer
Stephen Schwarzman ’69, a billionaire donor whose ties to Trump sparked controversy among students and faculty over the naming of his eponymous campus center, will no longer support the former president.
Schwarzman, whose $150 million gift to the University was responsible for the construction of the state-of-the-art Schwarzman Center, announced on Wednesday that he would no longer support the former president as he launches a 2024 presidential campaign.
The news comes a day after Trump announced his campaign bid to become the Republican challenger in his private estate at Mar-a-Lago. It is one in a series of refusals to endorse Trump’s 2024 run by prominent GOP figures, including hedge-fund billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin and former Vice President Mike Pence.
“America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman said in a statement shared with the News by Blackstone spokesman Thomas Clements. “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.”
Clements declined to elaborate further.
Griffin, another prominent GOP donor, told attendees of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore a day before Schwarzman’s announcement that he would no longer support Trump in his presidential campaign.
“I’d like to think that the Republican party is ready to move on from somebody who has been, for this party, a three-time loser,” Griffin said in a statement reported by Axios.
Trump previously appointed Schwarzman as chair of his Strategic and Policy Forum, where he led meetings and advised the administration on matters of economic security and international relations. And as a close Trump advisor, Schwarzman informally counseled Trump on major policy issues.
But at the end of Trump’s term, Schwarzman denounced the former president’s actions.
“The insurrection that followed the President’s [Trump] remarks today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” Schwarzman said following the Jan. 6 insurrection. “I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our constitution. As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”
Schwarzman also offered to “help [then] President-elect Biden and his team” as they were set to confront the economic challenges posed by the pandemic.
But in spite of this, professors continued calls to remove Schwarzman’s name from the student center, which were turned down by the University. Administrators had previously defended the billionaire donor after faculty, students and alumni criticized Schwarzman for his close relationship with Trump.
University President Peter Salovey has previously faced pressure to condemn Trump, but has declined to respond to the former president except on issues directly affecting University life.
Steven Smith, a professor of political science at Yale, approved of Schwarzman’s decision to not endorse Trump for a second non-consecutive term.
“I assume that Mr. Schwarzman did not get to where he is in life if he didn’t have the ability to learn from his mistakes,” Smith wrote in an email to the News.
Stephen Schwarzman graduated from Harvard Business School in 1972, three years after he graduated from Yale College.