Trump donor Nelson Peltz hosted a pricy fundraiser for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin last month where some donors discussed the possibility of the senator switching parties and running for president, CNBC reports.
Peltz hosted a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser at his Florida mansion in March, which was attended by at least 50 executives backing Manchin’s re-election bid.
“Mr. Peltz supports Mr. Manchin. He believes Mr. Manchin is a rare elected politician from both sides of the aisle who puts country before party, something which Mr. Peltz believes is much needed in our country today,” Peltz spokeswoman Anne Tarbell told CNBC.
Peltz previously told the network that he speaks with Manchin every week and has been a personal friend for a decade.
Several executives at the lunch said they privately hoped Manchin would switch parties and challenge President Joe Biden in 2024 as a Republican.
One executive told the outlet that attendees viewed Manchin as “someone who could successfully run in a Republican presidential primary and then possibly defeat Biden.”
Manchin, meanwhile, told the audience that he plans to run for re-election in 2024.
“With all the challenges facing us now - many of which he has repeatedly spoken out about - he will continue representing West Virginians to the best of his ability,” Manchin spokesman Sam Runyon told CNBC.
Peltz, the founder of the investment fund Trian Partners, hosted numerous prominent executives at his $95 million estate.
Attendees included Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and Bernard Marcus, all of whom typically donate to Republicans.
The event was also attended by investor Leon Cooperman, who has doled out contributions on both sides of the aisle.