Jan 30, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Megadonor Ken Griffin praises Haley, casts doubt on securing GOP nomination

Ken Griffin holds microphone while speaking at a summit in Hong Kong

Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, speaks at the Global Financial Leaders' Investment Summit on Nov. 7, 2023, in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel, called Republican White House hopeful Nikki Haley a "tremendous candidate" on Tuesday but cast doubt on whether she can beat former President Trump.

Why it matters: The Republican megadonor's sentiments come as the former UN ambassador continues to trail behind frontrunner Trump and faces growing calls from the GOP to drop out of the race.

  • The CEO told Bloomberg News this past November that he was "actively contemplating" backing Haley.

What he's saying: "I have supported Nikki Haley. I think she is a tremendous candidate," Griffin said in a CNBC interview at the MFA Network conference in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday.

  • Asked whether Haley still has a pathway to securing the party's nomination, Griffin said it's a "narrower road than it was eight weeks ago."
  • "Her poise: admirable — her foreign policy experience: tremendous — her ability to unite this country: phenomenal — I just don't know, though, that at this moment, that's going to get her where she needs to get to in South Carolina and thereafter," he added.

Meanwhile, Griffin donated $5 million this month to the super PAC behind Haley's White House bid, a spokesperson for Citadel confirmed with Axios.

  • "Governor Haley has a tremendous track record of leadership and America would be well served by someone with her foreign policy credentials and policy priorities in the White House," Griffin said in a statement shared with Axios on Tuesday.
  • "She cares deeply about the future of all Americans and has demonstrated effective leadership advancing policies that promote lifelong prosperity, upward mobility, and our nation's safety and security."

Griffin emphasized other upcoming key races, saying: "While voters decide on who will serve as the Republican Party's nominee for President, I will continue my focus on actively supporting U.S. House and Senate candidates prioritizing economic freedom and a strong defense of America at home and abroad."

  • Griffin donated $10 million to David McCormick's super PAC — the Republican and former hedge fund CEO running a second campaign in the Pennsylvania Senate race.
  • Griffin also donated $5 million to the super PAC behind Tim Sheehy, a Republican running in Montana's Senate race.

Go deeper: GOP megadonor Ken Griffin "actively contemplating" supporting Haley

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