Kiss the Ring

After months of denouncing Trump, the rich and powerful realize they could use some Donald in their life after all.

1. The Ricketts Family

Before

I hear the Rickets [sic] family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!

— Trump, March 2016.
The Ricketts, led by patriarch Joe, founder of online trading hub TD Ameritrade, has long put their money to work in belt-tightening initiatives like “Ending Spending, Inc.” and massive donations to the Republican Party — the old version. In the primaries, Joe and his wife Marlene gave $5.5 million to the anti-Trump PAC Our Principles and earned themselves an angry Trump tweet.
After
Joe’s son Todd, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and Gary Johnson donor, is now Trump’s deputy commerce secretary.

2. Linda McMahon

Before

I think [his] rhetoric has really gone over the top. Some of the comments that have been made, I think, are quite deplorable.

— Linda McMahon, March 2016.
After
Despite using the D-word on Trump months before Hillary Clinton slammed Trump’s supporters as a nasty little basket, the WWE’s Linda McMahon kept her options open and eventually donated $6 million to a pro-Trump PAC. She’s now his pick for Small Business Administration head.

3. Steve Case

Before
Co-founder and ex-CEO of AOL, Case positioned himself as a Clinton supporter despite his distaste for “hyper-partisanship” and politics in general. “I agree with Clinton on the need to control the deficit,” he said, as well as her goal to keep America “the most innovative and entrepreneurial nation in the world.”
After
Hours after Trump’s victory, Case tweeted an open letter to the president-elect inviting him to embrace his ideas for a new economy based around “startup culture” and Silicon Valley values. “I’m looking forward to working with you on these important issues.”

4. Marc Benioff

Before
Proudly declaring that he donated to both Barack Obama and Paul Ryan in 2012, the CEO of Salesforce nevertheless vocally backed Clinton last year. Benioff cited her commitment to education. “I’m deeply worried about the kids,” he told CNN.
After
As soon as Trump won, Benioff tweeted his congratulations, said he looked forward to slashing the national debt, and speculated that Trump’s racism and xenophobia were probably exaggerated anyway.

5. Sheldon Adelson

Before
The biggest and wrinkliest gorilla in the room, casino mogul and pro-Israel fanatic Sheldon Adelson snubbed Trump through the entire primary and continued to hold out even after the convention, reportedly disturbed by Trump’s wild temper and lack of discipline.
After
When the payoff finally came, it came in a big way: Adelson dumped $25 million into Trump’s campaign last minute, handily becoming the biggest donor to either party in the entire 2016 race. He’s now a key liaison between Trump and the Netanyahu regime. “I felt strongly that someone with that level of CEO experience would be well-trained for the job of president,” he said. “It turns out that is exactly what we are getting in Trump.”

6. Robert Mercer

Before
CEO of Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer started as a hardcore Ted Cruz guy, founding and donating $13.5 million to a flush Cruz super PAC in the primaries. He flirted briefly with Marco Rubio as well in a desperate attempt to keep money flowing to a more traditional Republican candidate.
>After
Quicker than some of his fellow heavyweights, Mercer kissed Trump’s ring in June and converted to a pro-Trump super PAC, giving another $1.5 million. Now, along with notorious Trump advisor Steve Bannon, he’s a main backer of Cambridge Analytica, the data firm behind Trump’s operation and the Brexit Leave campaign.

7. Paul Singer

Before
Hedge fund daddy Paul Singer funnelled $2.5 million to an anti-Trump PAC and $5 million to a pro-Rubio super PAC, and made headlines for declaring Trump would cause a depression. “The most impactful of the economic policies that I recall him coming out for are these anti-trade policies,” Singer whined.
After
Now that Trump is in charge, Singer is making nice, joining him at a fundraising breakfast and reportedly preparing a fat donation to the inauguration committee.

8. The National Review

Before
Always the mouthpiece of the business wing of the Republican Party, National Review devoted an entire January 2016 issue to making the case “AGAINST TRUMP,” featuring right-wing luminaries from Glenn Beck to Jonah Goldberg to John Podhoretz. “Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him,” the editors wrote. “Count us out.”

If Trump were to become the president, the Republican nominee, or even a failed candidate with strong conservative support, what would that say about conservatives? The movement that ground down the Soviet Union and took the shine, at least temporarily, off socialism would have fallen in behind a huckster.

National Review
After
By the end of summer the magazine had begun looking on the bright side, running pieces like, “Trump Can Fix It.” (Written by onetime media titan and convicted fraudster Conrad Black, no less.)

9. Richard Uihlein

Before
The founder of industrial distributor Uline, Uihlein gave $1 million to the anti-Trump PAC Our Principles, joining Paul Singer and the Ricketts.
After
And, like those fat cats before him, Uihlein soon flipped and gave $5,400 to the Trump campaign and $325,000 to Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee with the RNC. His wife Liz ended up on Trump’s economic advisory committee.