A prominent Republican financier and onetime backer of former President Donald Trump is throwing his support behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 election.
Hal Lambert, founder of Texas-based Point Bridge Capital — which manages an investment fund named after Trump’s “Make America Great Again” 2016 campaign slogan — said it’s time for Republicans to turn the page on the 76-year-old former president and go for DeSantis, 44.
“I’m in for DeSantis this time. I plan to do a lot to help DeSantis win,” Lambert told The Post.
Lambert’s “MAGA ETF,” an exchange-traded fund, invests in companies whose employees and political action committees largely support Republican candidates.
The GOP donor — who served on Trump’s inaugural committee in 2016 — said he decided to back DeSantis after dining with the governor and his wife, Casey, in Florida three weeks ago and coming away impressed.
He noted that DeSantis — who is expected to enter the presidential race this week — has a strong, successful conservative record as governor of the Sunshine State and is right on key issues such as border security, energy independence and school choice.
“Ron is good at giving a message,” Lambert said, adding that Casey DeSantis “is amazing.”
“She will be a real asset,” he added.
By comparison, Lambert said he was turned off by Trump’s performance during a recent CNN town hall, where the former president repeated his lies about the 2020 election being stolen from him.
“What voters who didn’t vote for Trump in 2020 are going to vote for him this time based on his performance? I don’t think anyone will,” Lambert said, adding that Trump focused too much on the past.
“We can’t talk about things from four years ago that can’t be changed,” he said. “Trump is going to have a difficult time winning the general election. The election won’t be about Joe Biden’s bad record. It will be a referendum on Trump instead.”
DeSantis, meanwhile, would provide a better contrast to 80-year-old President Biden than Trump on the debate stage, the fund manager noted.
“DeSantis is a leader who knows how to govern, not just have news headlines and slogans,” Lambert said.
Still, Lambert acknowledged that Trump is a formidable opponent and it’s “going to be a battle” to defeat him.
“You have to beat Trump and not alienate Trump’s voters. We need them to win the general election,” he said.
But Lambert also claimed Trump’s voter support in recent polls is overstated, and predicted the the race will tighten after DeSantis officially announces his candidacy.
“Trump’s support will drop under 50 percent,” Lambert said.
In the early voting states, DeSantis could win the Iowa caucus and have a shot to defeat Trump in the GOP primary in New Hampshire, where Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is a Trump critic, Lambert said.
Lambert, of Fort Worth, Tx., said the disaster at the US-Mexico border under Biden hits home.
But he claimed Trump also was a failure on border security when he was president.
“With millions of illegals from all over the world swarming across the border under Biden, it’s an everyday reminder that Trump didn’t fulfill his number one campaign promise — building a wall and having Mexico pay for it. We got neither and our country will forever be changed, ” Lambert said.
“Even with a Republican congress Trump couldn’t get it done,” Lambert continued. “And yet with a tie Senate, Biden was able to get trillions in new spending including $80 billion for the IRS. Trump couldn’t muster a mere $5 billion for the wall.”
DeSantis, meanwhile, recently signed a law that cracks down on illegal immigrants, which includes boosting penalties for human smuggling and banning local governments and other organizations from issuing identification cards to people without legal status and invalidates all out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to people in the US illegally. New York and California issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
“DeSantis will be strong on border security,” Lambert said.
He also said DeSantis will promote energy policies that include fossil fuels, contrasting with Biden and the Democrats’ obsession with addressing climate change with cleaner, green power.
“We can’t sit back and go with the craziness of everything going electric and relying on wind and solar power. We’ve got to have fossil fuels,” he said. DeSantis wants us to become energy independent.”
DeSantis, widely seen as heading for a showdown against his former ally, Trump, in the Republican presidential primary, has already come under attack from the left, notably with a pre-emptive broadside delivered by the NAACP in a feud over his educational policy.
Other mega-donors and bundlers previously told The Post that they weren’t putting money behind Trump this time around.
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign touted the former president’s poll numbers in a statement Sunday and claimed support for DeSantis was sinking.
“President Trump is crushing all other candidates and the poll numbers — both nationally and statewide — show that Americans are rallying behind the America First movement he built from the ground up,” the statement said. “Conversely, DeSantis’s shadow campaign is flailing and his support has sunk to historic lows.”