Saturday 25 February 2017

Wealthy Republicans ditching Donald to campaign for Hillary

Olivia Oran

Mr Trump has made traditional Republican donors uneasy with inflammatory statements about women, Mexicans, Muslims and war veterans, among others. Photo: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
Mr Trump has made traditional Republican donors uneasy with inflammatory statements about women, Mexicans, Muslims and war veterans, among others. Photo: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Groups of wealthy Republicans unhappy with Donald Trump have been privately courting prominent peers to join them in backing Democrat Hillary Clinton's US presidential bid, several people involved in the effort have revealed.

They say they are seeking money and endorsements from other Republicans disillusioned by Mr Trump, their party's candidate for the November 8 presidential election. Some have received encouragement from Ms Clinton and members of her campaign staff.

"I made the decision that I wouldn't be able to look at my grandkids if I voted for Trump," said Dan Webb, a former federal prosecutor and a self-described "Republican for decades" working to win over prominent Republican business people in Chicago.

Mr Trump, a New York developer making his first run at public office, has made traditional Republican donors uneasy with inflammatory statements about women, Mexicans, Muslims and war veterans, among others.

Big-name Wall Street donors can make a difference for Ms Clinton. They could inject serious money into a campaign.

They might influence moderate Republicans to switch sides. Their support of Ms Clinton challenges Mr Trump's assertion that his business successes make him a better candidate for president.

With the political conventions barely over, the Republican effort to fundraise for Ms Clinton is at an early stage. Some of the groups have yet to receive contributions because they must still file paperwork under campaign finance rules.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks declined to comment for this story. Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson said business leaders are supporting Ms Clinton because of her economic plan and because Mr Trump "cannot be trusted."

Groups formed to support Ms Clinton include Republicans for Her 2016, run by Republican lobbyist Craig Snyder; a grassroots organisation called R4C16, led by John Stubbs and Ricardo Reyes, officials in former President George W Bush's administration; and the Republican Women for Hillary group co-led by Jennifer Pierotti Lim, an official at the US Chamber of Commerce.

The first two groups are acting independently of Ms Clinton's own effort. The third is acting in concert with her campaign.

"We wanted to go out there and be the voice for Republicans who were feeling wary about Trump and weird about publicly endorsing Hillary," said Ms Pierotti Lim.

Irish Independent

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