Factbox-Who are the mega-rich donors backing Trump?

By Thomson Reuters Apr 26, 2024 | 5:06 AM

By Alexandra Ulmer and Jason Lange

(Reuters) – A handful of mega-rich donors have emerged as key backers of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, collectively donating more than $50 million to support his candidacy against Democratic incumbent Joe Biden.

With Trump’s small dollar donations slowing and some major Republican benefactors snubbing him, a clutch of prominent wealthy Americans have become crucial to bankrolling his candidacy.

Here are five of the top donors, including one couple, that are backing Trump, based on a Reuters analysis of campaign finance disclosures to the Federal Election Commission:


Timothy Mellon, an 81-year-old heir of the Pittsburgh-based Mellon banking family, has given the pro-Trump super PAC known as MAGA Inc at least $16.5 million since 2022. He also gave at least $20 million to a pro-Trump super PAC called America First Action Inc during the 2020 presidential election.

The hyper-private Mellon, who lives in Wyoming and is rarely photographed, is an amateur pilot who has invested in and led transport-related companies. Forbes estimates that the Mellon family is worth some $14.1 billion.

Mellon is also the biggest donor supporting independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., giving the pro-Kennedy super PAC American Values at least $20 million. Polls have shown Kennedy’s presence on the ticket could siphon votes from both Biden and Trump in their Nov. 5 match-up.

Mellon has also donated to a raft of anti-immigration measures, and was a major contributor to a Texas-led fund to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

Efforts by Reuters to contact Mellon through a publisher and a family foundation he was previously affiliated with were unsuccessful.


Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, the former chairman of Marvel Entertainment, and his wife Laura Perlmutter have donated more than $10 million in this election cycle to a new pro-Trump fundraising super PAC called Right for America. Perlmutter has been a regular at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and has been a longtime contributor to Trump’s campaigns. The Perlmutters gave at least $21 million to America First Action Inc in 2020.

Last year, Walt Disney Co laid off Perlmutter as chairman of Marvel Entertainment, a small division within the company responsible for comic book publishing and some consumer products, as part of a cost-cutting campaign.

Israeli-born Perlmutter, who Forbes says is 81 years old and worth around $4.4 billion, is known for being very private and is rarely photographed.

His wife Laura, who also has a low profile, is a director at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Foundation, which says it focuses on health care and community initiatives.

Reached by phone, Isaac Perlmutter’s lawyer John Turitzin said he did not want to speak to the media and hung up.


Former professional wrestling entrepreneur, Linda McMahon, a longtime Trump donor who headed the Small Business Administration during the Trump administration, has donated more than $10 million to MAGA Inc in this cycle. McMahon gave more than $15 million in 2019 and 2020 to America First Action Inc, which she chaired ahead of the 2020 election.

Until 2009, she ran World Wrestling Entertainment with her husband Vince McMahon, who bought the company from his father in the 1980s. Earlier this year, Vince McMahon resigned from wrestling giant TKO Group and the subsidiary WWE that he founded following a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault and trafficking, which he denies. Forbes puts his net worth at around $2.7 billion.

Linda McMahon, 75, ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut twice. She is now the chair of the pro-Trump America First Policy Institute think tank in Washington D.C., which says it advocates for “free enterprise, national greatness, American military superiority … and the primacy of American workers, families, and communities.”

AFPI did not respond to requests for comment from McMahon.


Nevada budget hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow, 79, has given MAGA Inc over $9 million in this cycle. Bigelow told Reuters in January he had pledged to give the pro-Trump group a total of $20 million.

Bigelow, who has a fascination with UFOs and space and funds various research efforts, has dined with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Bigelow says he donated $1 million for Trump’s legal funds.

In 2011, Forbes estimated Bigelow’s real estate holdings were worth around $700 million.


Patricia Duggan, a major donor to the Church of Scientology, has given MAGA Inc more than $5 million this election cycle.

Her ex-husband Robert Duggan is an investor and entrepreneur whose fortunes were boosted by the 2015 sale of cancer drug maker Pharmacyclics to AbbVie for $21 billion. Forbes puts his net worth at about $3.3 billion.

The Duggans, who met at the University of California at Santa Barbara and have eight children, divorced in 2017. They each gave America First Action Inc at least $4 million in 2020.

Patricia Duggan’s personal website describes her as an artist passionate about glass art. She lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Duggan did not respond to a request for information.

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Jason Lange. Additional reporting by Dawn Chmielewski, editing by Deepa Babington)