President Trump has pleaded not guilty to 91 criminal counts in four separate indictments and faces a busy court schedule as he campaigns to seek reelection.
Reuters asked Mr. Marcus whether he would continue to back President Trump if he were convicted.
“I think so,” he said. “Because I think it’s all trumped up.”
He told Reuters he had spoken to President Trump recently, and not about his legal battles or legal fees. He added that President Trump said he was “very happy” about Mr. Marcus’s support.
He noted that he was not one of President Trump’s biggest donors.
“Of course, I’m going to support him to some extent, but I’m not one of his big givers, that’s for sure,” he said.
Mr. Marcus and his wife Billi Wilma Marcus were the seventh-largest individual Republican donors in the 2020 election cycle, giving nearly $25 million to Republican campaigns, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit group that tracks money in politics.
Gave in 2016 and 2020Mr. Marcus had also donated to President Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns. He said President Trump was a “fixer” who could improve the economy of the United States and had a good record on foreign policy.
With war in Israel, supporters of President Trump have commented that he has already shown he is capable of handling conflicts in the Middle East.
Robert Bigelow, formerly the biggest donor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign, had announced he was switching his support to President Trump over the Israel–Hamas war.
Mr. Marcus had endorsed President Trump in part because of the war as well.
“This will require a president with the judgment, strength, decisiveness, and courage that Donald Trump displayed in his first term when he ordered the strike that killed the Iranian terrorist Gen. Qasem Soleimani and dissuaded Russia from invading Ukraine,” he wrote.
“Many, including myself, believe that Hamas would not have unleashed its barbarism and cruelty on Israel if Donald Trump was our president today.”
In the op-ed, Mr. Marcus said that Americans faced “high stakes and a simple choice.”
He also shared his reasoning for initially taking a backseat as a donor this election cycle.
‘Once-Great Cities’“I am 94 years old and like many of you, I am exhausted by politics and saddened by what I see happening to America,” he said. “I had hoped it was time for me to move to the sidelines and let younger generations continue the fight to preserve America’s founding freedoms and values.”
But given the “once-great cities” across the country descending into “random violent attacks on innocent people, rampant looting, and large-scale homeless encampments,” he said he “could not walk away.”
He shared the story of how he had founded Home Depot after losing his job and was broke at age 48. The America of that day, he said, was still “the land of opportunity.”
He cited rising violent crime, the unsecured border, economic woes of working people, and ineffective public schools, stating that this could not be the “legacy” that Americans leave to their children.
“I see these freedoms and values being eroded today as government gets bigger and weaponized against its political opponents.”
“This should not be a partisan issue,” he wrote, adding that Democrats can vote for President Joe Biden if they believe the country today is better than three years ago, but Republicans have a “simple” choice.
“Let’s face it: Donald Trump is going to win the nomination. You should be doing all you can to ensure his winning the general election,” he wrote.
Mr. Marcus expressed frustration with his Republican friends who don’t like President Trump’s rhetorical style and attitude, writing that this was not a good enough reason to “walk away from his otherwise excellent stewardship of the United States during his first term in office.”
In recent polls, President Trump has pulled ahead as the lead candidate in both the Republican Party and against Democrat candidates. RealClear Politics’ poll aggregator puts President Trump at 61.3 percent in national Republican candidate polls, ahead of Mr. DeSantis at second with 13.8 percent.
In matchups against incumbent President Biden, President Trump averages 47.2 percent against President Biden’s 45 percent. A DeSantis–Biden matchup is much closer at 46 to 45.2, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley averages 45.3 to 41.3 in a matchup against President Biden.
Reuters contributed to this report.