Biggest DeSantis Donor Is Jumping Ship

Robert Bigelow says he's now 'pro-Trump'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2023 6:55 PM CST
Biggest DeSantis Donor Is Jumping Ship
Robert Bigelow, founder and president of Bigelow Aerospace, speaks at a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center in this 2016 file photo.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

In yet another setback for Ron DeSantis, the biggest donor to his presidential campaign has decided Donald Trump is the "commander" America needs. Nevada real estate tycoon Robert Bigelow tells the Financial Times that the Hamas attack on Israel showed him America needs a "streetwise" leader. "I've got to look at who would probably be the strongest commander, with the most experience," he says. "And that's only one guy." Bigelow, who has also funded research into UFOs and paranormal activity, gave the Florida governor's campaign $20 million earlier this year, the largest donation any 2024 hopeful has received.

Bigelow tells Reuters that he is "pro-Trump"—but he's not going to support the former president's campaign financially until he's sure Trump's not going to jail. "Right now I'm determined to remain on the sidelines for the time being to see how these prosecutions play out," Bigelow says. "I have to be sure that he does not have a position where the prosecution has a path to send him to jail."

Bigelow said in August that he wasn't planning to donate more money to DeSantis because of issues including a six-week abortion ban he opposes. He tells Reuters that he waited for weeks to get a call from DeSantis and eventually heard from the governor's wife, Casey. "I didn't take her call," Bigelow tells Reuters. "I felt it was Ron's responsibility. It wasn't his wife's. I think it's indicative of not good thinking to ignore a large donor like that." (More Ron DeSantis 2024 stories.)

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