Billionaire and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is part of a very small group within former President Donald Trump’s inner circle: Wealthy supporters who are willing to invest their own personal capital to convince Republican megadonors to donate to Trump’s presidential campaign.
Not only is Johnson backing Trump himself, he is also doing something even more important: Lobbying members of the unofficial Republican billionaire’s club to come back into Trump’s fold, said several of Johnson’s allies who were granted anonymity in order to relay private conversations.
“The sales pitch from team Johnson has been ‘it’s going to be Trump based on the polling. Are you just not going to get on the train as Trump heads to be the nominee?’” a Republican fundraiser familiar with the engagement told CNBC.
Beyond the outreach to fellow donors, Johnson has also signaled that he plans to help organize and host fundraisers for Trump as the primary season ramps up next year, when the pivotal caucus and primary elections begin, a person close to the Jets owner explained.
So far, many of the biggest names in Republican fundraising, like Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, steel magnate Andy Sabin and real estate titan Stephen Ross, are reluctant to “get on the train” with Trump. Several of them have said both privately and publicly that they were disillusioned with the former president after his first term ended with the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
But not Johnson. A longtime personal friend of Trump’s and his ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2017-21, Johnson has told friends he is all in on helping his onetime boss win back the White House in 2024, according to people familiar with the matter.