US

Tim Scott Fund-Raiser Includes Trump-Resistant Donors as V.P. Race Heats Up


Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, one of the top contenders to become Donald J. Trump’s running mate, will host a gathering in Washington next month featuring Republican donors who so far remain publicly uncommitted to the party’s presidential ticket.

Pitched as a meeting of Great Opportunity Policy, a tax-exempt group that supports Mr. Scott’s political agenda, the private event on June 19 will double as a fund-raiser just as Mr. Trump’s vice-presidential search is expected to start heating up.

A financial show of force for Mr. Scott’s group could lift his chances of being selected by Mr. Trump, who has spoken to advisers at Mar-a-Lago about which potential running mates could help the campaign raise money. For Mr. Scott, the event may help signal that he is a more palatable political figure for centrist donors and that adding him to the ticket could expand the network of financial resources Mr. Trump could tap into this year.

According to a copy of the invitation obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Scott’s event will feature remarks from a range of major donors and other well-known figures:

  • Marc Andreessen, the software engineer turned investor who has given more than $11 million to non-Trump political causes this cycle

  • Kenneth Griffin, the founder of the hedge fund Citadel, who has made nearly $60 million in political contributions this cycle, much of which helped finance Mr. Trump’s Republican primary challengers

  • Marc Rowan, the chief executive of Apollo Global Management, who supported Mr. Scott’s presidential bid

  • Bill Ackman, the founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, who has said he is deciding whether to support Mr. Trump or Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent presidential candidate

  • Tim Dunn, a founder of CrownQuest, who has already supported Mr. Trump with a $5 million contribution to Make America Great Again Inc., the former president’s super PAC

  • Kellyanne Conway, a former senior counselor in the Trump White House

Mr. Trump has become increasingly worried about a range of money problems. On the campaign trail, his advisers expect to be outgunned by President Biden’s fund-raising operation. In the courtroom, his four criminal cases have led to sky-high legal bills, sapping roughly $50 million from his Save America political action committee last year.

The former president has responded by leaning into his own fund-raising efforts — a major shift from his first campaign, in 2016, when he appealed to voters by portraying political donors as a malignant force undermining the interests of working-class Americans.

At a private fund-raiser on Saturday at his Mar-a-Lago club in South Florida, Mr. Trump told donors that they would not receive a picture with him if “you didn’t pay enough,” and added that he occasionally told his aides they scheduled too many photos before an event.

“They said, ‘Well, they’re paying $100,000 apiece for a picture’ — I say, ‘OK, I’ll do it,’” Mr. Trump said to applause from donors, according to a recording of the event.

Attending the event was a large group of Republican officials, including Mr. Scott, whom the former president highlighted for the crowd as an “unbelievable” pro-Trump surrogate.

Mr. Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, has also been active in helping Mr. Trump raise money. This year, he helped organize a major fund-raiser before a key presidential primary contest in his home state.

Later this month, Mr. Scott is scheduled to attend a fund-raiser in Manhattan hosted by a group of billionaires, financial executives and longtime Republican donors, according to a person familiar with the planning who insisted on anonymity to discuss the private deliberations. Hosts for that event include Howard Lutnick, the chief executive of the investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald; John Paulson, a hedge fund billionaire who hosted an event for Mr. Trump last month in Palm Beach, Fla.; and J. Pepe Fanjul, a top executive at Florida Crystals, according to an invitation.

The policy gathering in Washington hosted by Mr. Scott next month, which seeks contributions of up to $250,000 from attendees, is expected to focus on antisemitism on college campuses and financial issues.

In a statement, Mr. Scott said the topics would be aimed at “expanding opportunity and access to the American dream.”

“For too many Americans, prosperity is slipping out of reach,” he said.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.



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