Republican donors who did not back President Donald Trump in 2016 are pouring millions of dollars into his re-election campaign.
The fundraising drive will be formally announced May 7 at a closed-door event with Trump 2020 aides in Washington, where donors who collect at least $25,000 will be invited to campaign-sponsored retreats, briefings and dinners, reported Politico.
The effort is closely modeled on the Pioneers network that propelled George W. Bush's 2000 campaign.
Dallas Republican Roy Bailey said he's seen commitments from about 150 donors, some of whom had strongly opposed Trump in 2016.
“There were still a lot of people who were trying to lick their wounds and hadn’t quite gotten over the fact that he had whipped everybody," Bailey said. "They were slow to come on board. I’ve had a couple of people that in 2016, they just weren’t on board with candidate Trump at all and they said, ‘Look, Roy, he has won me over. I’m all in.’”
Jack Oliver, who was one of the architects of Bush's Pioneers program, sat out 2016 after Jeb Bush left the race, but is now advising the Trump re-election campaign.
“I think you’ll have a significant number of Bush and Romney veterans that were on the sidelines or didn’t get overly involved in 2016 but will be involved in the 2020 campaign,” Oliver said.
Geoff Verhoff, who bundled more than $1 million for Marco Rubio's failed GOP presidential campaign, predicted that other Republican donors would sign on because they were happy with what they'd seen from Trump -- and because they feared what Democratic candidates were running on.
“All you have to do is look at what the other side is gearing up for and this is a pretty easy decision for a lot of people,” said the lobbyist. “From a policy standpoint, there’s virtually nothing they disagree with, then layer on top of that the choice that the other side is presenting to the country and it’s a no-brainer.”