Disney heiress, wealthy Democratic donors say they won't finance the party until Joe Biden drops out (2024)

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U.S. President Joe Biden walks to deliver remarks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's bid for immunity from federal prosecution for 2020 election subversion, at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 1, 2024.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

President Joe Biden is facing an uprising from some his own party's wealthy donors, including an heiress to the Disney family fortune, who say they will no longer fund the Democratic Party until Biden drops out of the presidential race following his disastrous debate performance.

Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, who co-founded The Walt Disney Co., told CNBC on Thursday that she plans to withhold donations to the party she has funded for years until Biden drops out. The president has said he has no plans to withdraw from the race, despite calls for him to do so.

"I intend to stop any contributions to the party unless and until they replace Biden at the top of the ticket. This is realism, not disrespect.Biden is a good man and has served his country admirably, but the stakes are far too high," Abigail Disney said in a lengthy statement to CNBC. "If Biden does not step down the Democrats will lose.Of that I am absolutely certain.The consequences for the loss will be genuinely dire."

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The Democratic Party at large has been in a state of panic since Biden struggled to perform in the debate against former President Donald Trump last week. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, called on Biden to drop out of the race, suggesting the debate performance proved to voters that the president is incapable of taking on Trump and unable to overcome his distance in the polls.

A New York Times/Sienna College poll taken after the debate showed Biden behind Trump by 6 percentage points among likely voters.

Representatives for the Biden campaign did not return requests for comment.

Abigail Disney has been a longtime supporter of Democrats. She gave $50,000 to the Jane Fonda Climate political action committee in April, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. The PAC has given $35,000 to Democrats running for congressional seats, according to data from OpenSecrets.

Disney gave $150,000 in 2014 to Planned Parenthood Votes, a PAC affiliated with the health care nonprofit, according to OpenSecrets. That PAC this election cycle has spent more than $400,000 supporting Democrats, including $26,000 for Biden.

Disney pointed to Vice President Kamala Harris as a solid alternative to Biden, arguing she'd be able to defeat Trump.

"We have an excellent Vice President. If Democrats would tolerate any of her perceived shortcomings even one tenth as much as they have tolerated Biden's (and let's not kid ourselves about where race and gender figure in that inequity) and if Democrats can find a way to stop quibbling and rally around her, we can win this election by a lot," Disney said.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Abigail Disney speaks at Firehouse DCTV's Cinema For Documentary Film Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on September 20, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Santiago Felipe | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

And she's not the only one pausing gifts until Biden steps down. Gideon Stein, president of the Moriah Fund, said he's decided to pause planned donations of $3.5 million, earmarked for nonprofits and political organizationstied to the race for the White House.

"Joe Biden has been a very effective president, but unless he steps aside my family and I are pausing on more than $3 million in planned donations to nonprofits and political organizations aligned with the presidential race, with the exception of some down ballot work," Stein said. "Virtually every major donor I've talked to believes that we need a new candidate in order to defeat Donald Trump."

Karla Jurvetson, a philanthropist and major Democratic donor, hinted as recently as Tuesday in a private donor call that she agrees with the sentiment on pausing donations until Biden steps down and could end up making such move, according to a person familiar with her remarks. The person was granted anonymity in order to speak freely about a private conversation.

A spokesman for Jurvetson did not return repeated requests for comment.

Jurvetson is among the top 50 donors this cycle across the country, donating more than $5 million to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets. She's given over $200,000 to the Biden Victory Fund this cycle, according to FEC records.

Jurvetson gave more than $30 million to Democrats in 2020, according to the data.

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Disney heiress, wealthy Democratic donors say they won't finance the party until Joe Biden drops out (2024)

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