Why the Mercers, Trump's Biggest 2016 Backers, Have Bailed on Him - 2019-06-17
To judge from the recent leak of its internal poll numbers, Donald Trump's 2020 campaign has a lot of ground to make up—and Trump family members have already been sounding alarms that Republican mega donors aren't stepping up to close the gap. Don Jr. recently called a prominent donor and warned that Trump's money haul is falling behind where Barack Obama was early in his reelection, while Jared Kushner has privately complained to RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel that Trump's war chest is not as big as it should be at this point in the cycle.
"Jared doesn't like what's going on. He basically believes the RNC should be doing a lot better," a former West Wing official familiar with the conversations told me. According to this official and another source, Kushner wants to recruit Mike Pence's former chief of staff, Nick Ayers, back to Washington for a senior position at the RNC to bolster the GOP's fund-raising. "Jared wants Nick, but Ronna would protest that," the former West Wing official said. (The White House did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the RNC said the group "has a great working relationship with the team at the White House" and praised McDaniel for "fundraising records month after month.")
But a large part of the problem is that Trump has lost the financial support of one of his biggest backers in 2016: the Mercers. With their ties to Steve Bannon, Breitbart, and Cambridge Analytica, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah were superstars last cycle. According to half a dozen sources familiar with the reclusive family's political activities, the Mercers have drastically curtailed their political donations in recent months and will likely not play a significant role in 2020. "They think that the administration could do so much more. They've been very vocal about that to the president," a person familiar with the Mercers' thinking told me. "It's like they've disappeared," the former West Wing official added. "Crickets. They're gone," a prominent Republican strategist said.