Trump megadonor wants to run for New York mayor — as a Democrat


John Catsimatidis is the major funder of the Manhattan Republican Party, of which his daughter is the chair.

A billionaire megadonor to Donald Trump and the Republican Party said Thursday that he might run for mayor of New York City this year. But in order to win, he said, he may switch parties and run in the Democratic Party primary.

John Catsimatidis, a supermarket magnate, fossil fuel investor, and radio talk show host, told Politico that he might run for the Democratic mayoral nomination in the party's new ranked-choice primary.

Catsimatidis unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the same job in 2013.

"This is a Democratic city, and I was a Bill Clinton Democrat. I was a Democrat for a long time," he said. "I'm a middle-of-the-road guy. I can be a conservative Democrat, or I can be a liberal Republican."

It is understandable that Catsimatidis, the owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain, would think a Democratic candidate for mayor would have a better shot than a Republican in traditionally blue New York City. In November, Joe Biden won in the city by a landslide, with more than 70% of the vote.

But in reality, Catsimatidis is a Donald Trump Republican.

The billionaire, who was brought by his parents to the United States from his native Greece as an infant, endorsed Trump in 2016, complaining that President Barack Obama had allowed too many immigrants into the country who would be "burdens on the regular taxpayer."

In 2019, he backed Trump's reelection, tweeting, "On this great day of Trump kicking off his 2020 Campaign in Orlando I want to make it clear... Me and my family are supporting @realdonaldtrump 100% We are fighting for the soul of America!"

He contributed more than $250,000 to Trump's reelection campaign in 2020. He vocally supported Trump even after Trump called New York City a "ghost town" and an "anarchist jurisdiction" that had "gone to hell."

After Trump's continued lies about election fraud costing him reelection incited last week's deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, Catsimatidis continued to defend him.

"I see on the front page of The New York Times that they're blaming everything on Trump. I think he addressed the audience. I didn't think he said, 'Go out and do violence,' you know, go out and do peaceful protests. And that's what everybody's entitled to," he told New York radio station WABC. "I don't think any of his Twitter says, 'Go out and break into the Capitol.'"

After urging his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 for "wild" protests and cheering them on prior to their march to the Capitol from his rally at the Ellipse, Trump praised the attackers during their assault on the building, telling them, "We love you. You're very special."

Catsimatidis has also backed many of Trump's most fervent right-wing enablers.

According to Federal Election Commission records, over the last two years he has given more than $34,000 in support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; nearly $100,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee; more than $170,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; more than $70,000 to the Republican National Committee; and significant donations to the unsuccessful reelection campaigns of Sens. David Perdue (GA), Kelly Loeffler (GA), and Martha McSally (AZ).

Catsimatidis even gave $1,000 to anti-immigrant former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's unsuccessful Senate campaign.

He has also bankrolled the Manhattan Republican Party, providing most of its funding. His daughter Andrea has been its chair and CEO since 2017.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.