Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, a billionaire and major Republican campaign donor, gave $5 million to a political action committee backing former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley over Donald Trump in the GOP primary for president, according to his company spokesman.
Griffin wrote the seven-figure check in January to the SFA Fund, a super PAC that can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money to help Haley, but which cannot coordinate directly with her presidential campaign.
“Governor Haley has a tremendous track record of leadership and America would be well served by someone with her foreign policy credentials and policy priorities in the White House,” Griffin said in a statement to CNBC.
“She cares deeply about the future of all Americans and has demonstrated effective leadership advancing policies that promote lifelong prosperity, upward mobility, and our nation’s safety and security,” said Griffin.
“While voters decide on who will serve as the Republican Party’s nominee for President, I will continue my focus on actively supporting U.S. House and Senate candidates prioritizing economic freedom and a strong defense of America at home and abroad,” he said.
The announcement came just hours after Griffin told CNBC he “supported” Haley, during an interview at the Managed Funds Association conference in Miami. Griffin has an estimated net worth of $37 billion, according to Forbes.
Despite the Haley donation, Griffin also praised Trump on Tuesday during his conversation with CNBC. “I know many of us, me included, you know, struggle with some of Trump’s behaviors,” he said. “But there was a dimension of greater global security with him as president, particularly from U.S. interests.”
Griffin’s move comes as Haley faces a steep climb to the Republican nomination.
The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations came in third in the Iowa caucus, behind Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. A week later, she came in second in the New Hampshire primary to Trump after DeSantis dropped out.
Haley is currently trailing Trump by almost 30 percentage points in her home state of South Carolina, which will hold the next Republican primary on Feb. 24.
Haley is not the only Republican candidate for whom Griffin has cut a big check this cycle.
He has also donated $10 million to a super PAC supporting Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dave McCormick, the former CEO of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.
A super PAC that is backing Montana Senate hopeful Tim Sheehy received $5 million from Griffin, according to a Citadel spokesman. Sheehy is running to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. But Sheehy still faces a potential primary challenge from GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale.
Don’t miss these stories from CNBC PRO: