Nelson Peltz to vote for Trump over fears of Biden’s ‘mental condition’

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Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz plans to vote for Donald Trump, saying his assessment that President Joe Biden’s “mental condition is really scary” outweighed his concern over the January 6 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

The founder of $10bn investment firm Trian Partners also cited his worries over rising US immigration under Biden, saying that the country was “degrading”.

Peltz said the litany of criminal charges against the former president — including cases relating to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election — amounted to a “miscarriage of justice”, helping to make the activist investor a likely Trump voter in November.

“It will probably be Trump and I’m not happy about that,” he told the Financial Times in an interview in Palm Beach, Florida.

Peltz’s comments make him the latest in a line of former Trump critics who are returning to the ex-president’s fold after he trounced his Republican rivals in the party’s presidential primary race and called on donors to unite behind his Maga (Make America Great Again) movement.

The activist investor, currently embroiled in a proxy fight with Disney, said his Trump U-turn partly stemmed from concerns about the 81-year-old Biden’s fitness for office. The US president’s “mental condition is really scary”, said Peltz, who is also 81. Trump is 77.

“I don’t know what he knows and I don’t know what he doesn’t know,” said Peltz. “I don’t know who’s speaking for him and that’s troubling.”

Biden has pushed back against criticism of his age and questions over his memory, saying he had acquired wisdom to tackle America’s problems.

Peltz supported Trump in 2020, but told CNBC a day after the US Capitol riot that he was “sorry” for having backed the former president. Trump’s role in inciting violence and trying to overturn the election result had irrevocably damaged his legacy, he said at the time.

“I said I did regret voting for him because for me the Capitol is one of the sacred grounds, and the last time anybody attacked the White House it was the Brits in 1812,” Peltz told the FT. “And I thought that was pretty bad. I was convinced at that time that Trump might have incited it.”

Peltz donated to Tim Scott’s presidential primary bid last year, before the South Carolina senator dropped out of the Republican race and endorsed Trump. Peltz had also been among big donors who had considered backing Florida governor Ron DeSantis, at one point considered Trump’s biggest rival.

Concerns about rising immigration had also drawn Peltz back to Trump, he suggested. Republicans have for months attacked Biden over a surge in crossings at the US-Mexico border, with Trump saying immigration was “poisoning the blood” of the country.

“We can’t go on letting everyone into this country . . . We have an immigration problem — it’s not a Republican or Democrat problem,” said Peltz. The US should not halt immigration, he said, “but I want some boundaries put on it so we know at least who we’re bringing in”. The US remained strong but was “degrading”, he added.

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Peltz said he had not yet decided to support Trump financially. He is among Trump’s neighbours in Palm Beach and has known him for decades, but said he had not spoken to him “in quite a while”.

Peltz gave more than $300,000 to Republican candidates and groups in 2023, according to Federal Election Commission filings, and more than $600,000 to Republican candidates and conservative causes in 2022.

But he also voted for Democrats Bill Clinton in 1996 and Al Gore in 2000 and funded Democrats in 2022.

“I’m not one of these crazies who’s Republican or nothing,” Peltz said.

Additional reporting by Lauren Fedor in Washington and Eva Xiao in New York

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