One of the Republican party’s most influential donors signaled that he will support neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton in the November election. Paul Singer, the New York City hedge-fund manager who endorsed Marco Rubio before the Florida senator dropped out of the presidential race, said at a New York City event Monday evening that conservatives must “stand up for what we believe, which is not embodied by either choice on the menu in November,” according to a source in the room.
Though he conceded that, given Trump’s rise, it was a “difficult time if not a bleak time” for conservatives, Singer predicted that they would rise from the ashes of the 2016 election because he fundamentally believes in the United States. The remarks came at a dinner at Cipriani on 42nd Street in Manhattan hosted by the Manhattan Institute, a free-market think tank where Singer serves as chairman. The organization was honoring the winners of its Alexander Hamilton award, given this year to the civil liberties activist Harvey Silverglate and the hedge-fund billionaire and philanthropist Bruce Kovner.
Over the past several years, Singer has become one of the most important donors to the Republican party, cultivating a national finance network that has come to rival that of the libertarian Koch brothers. While Republican political leaders are either grudgingly backing Trump — or making a public show of considering the proposition, like House speaker Paul Ryan — Singer’s public rebuke is one sign that the party’s donors will not help him fund an effort to defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall.
Singer reportedly told the crowd it’s unclear what Trump stands for and characterized his views as a “blizzard” of contradictions.