Robert Mercer, the elusive billionaire who helped propel Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is reportedly having a slight change of heart. The wealthy hedge fund CEO sent a letter to his staff at Renaissance Technologies today saying that he will be stepping down in the coming months. What’s more interesting is that he wanted to set the record straight about some of his political moves.
Mercer wrote that his political opinions “do not always align with [Steve] Bannon.” He added that, though he supported Milo Yiannopoulos in the past, his recent actions and statements have led Mercer to sever all ties with the provocateur. “Of the many mischaracterizations made of me by the press,” he wrote, “the most repugnant to me have been the intimations that I am a white supremacist or a member of some other noxious group.”
Along those lines, writes Mercer, “For personal reasons, I have also decided to sell my stake in Breitbart News to my daughters.”
Wow, incredible statement from Bob Mercer — on Bannon, Milo, Breitbart: pic.twitter.com/6oSPpYlB7o
— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) November 2, 2017
It isn’t clear how significant of a shift this will be. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah, has been reported to be one of the real masterminds behind her father’s political forays. And the decision may be motivated by more than just Yiannopoulos’s politics: As Vanity Fair reported recently, the conservative icon was not the most spendthrift with his patron’s cash. Said one person who had worked with Yiannopoulos: “It’s basically party money”
While he may be trying to distance himself from Bannon and Yiannopoulos, Mercer is likely to remain a dominant force among conservative political donors. Mercer and his family gave more than $20 million in disclosed donations to various politicians in 2016, and alongside support for a slew of 2018 congressional contenders across the U.S., they have also been helping foot Donald Trump’s legal bills.
And the Mercer family partially owns Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that helped the Trump campaign target political ads, and which garnered more controversy last week when it emerged that its CEO had contacted WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange seeking missing e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s private server.