Former President Trump is working to ramp up his support among energy executives, WaPo reported.
Trump is a climate crisis skeptic who pushed for more drilling while in office.
Support from oil and gas executives would be crucial to his 2024 reelection campaign.
Former President Donald Trump has long been a skeptic of the climate crisis, and during his administration, he pushed heavily for expanded drilling on public lands and in federal waters.
So, as the former president touts his past record and campaigns for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, he is wooing oil and gas barons to line up behind his candidacy, according to The Washington Post.
While many of the nation's top energy executives may have already been inclined to support Trump, attracted to the former president's support for increased oil production and his distaste for environmental regulations favored by President Joe Biden, a wide range of leaders had also been entertaining entreaties from other Republican candidates.
Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder and chairman of Continental Resources, for instance, told Trump during a phone conversation earlier this year that he should end his presidential bid, per The Financial Times.
At the time, Hamm said there was too much "chaos" surrounding Trump, and he went on to donate to Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina.
But last month, Hamm visited Trump's Mar-a-Lago club with a $200,000 check for a super PAC supporting the former president and went to a private meeting and a fundraiser with him, according to The Post.
Trump and his campaign have made a concerted effort to create an air of inevitability surrounding his third White House bid.
"Trump 2024 is actively courting the right people and trying to get them on board, but specifically the oil industry," Canary LLC chief executive Dan Eberhart told The Post. "They know who they need to get on the Trump train, and they're doing what they need to do to get those folks."
Eberhart has thrown his support behind DeSantis' candidacy.
In early November, about 400 affluent Texas donors, including individuals tied to the oil and gas industry, came to the complex of telecommunications billionaire Kenny Troutt for a Trump event. Some of the attendees paid upwards of $23,200 to take a photo with the former president, according to The Post.
As Trump runs on his administration's record — he severely weakened the environmental rules put into place by President Barack Obama and pulled out of the Paris climate agreement (Biden rejoined the accord upon taking office) — he's looking to remind the group of his conservative bonafides.
Biden, in canceling the Keystone XL oil pipeline and also canceling oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northeastern Alaska, has staked out pro-environmental positions that Trump says have weakened the United States on energy policy.
Democrats, meanwhile, have praised Biden's commitment to pushing the production of electric vehicles and expanding solar energy, both issues that Trump has railed against.
In addition to Trump questioning the efficiency of batteries in electric vehicles, he has spoken out against wind turbines and has advocated for more drilling in the continental United States.
At the Texas event, the former president pledged to reverse Biden's Keystone XL decision and restore canceled oil and gas leases in ANWR, while also slamming electric vehicle mandates and vowing to fight against progressive-led efforts like the Green New Deal.
"Trump was good on energy, and I think energy policy under Trump would be fine," Eberhart, the DeSantis supporter, told The Post.
The extent of Trump's pitches to energy executives is not a shock to environmental groups, as they battled with the administration over regulations throughout his entire time in the White House.
"There aren't enough hours in the day to discuss how horrific the former president's record is when it comes to climate change, clean air, clean water, and public lands," League of Conservation Voters senior vice president for government affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld told The Post. "So the fact that Big Oil is coming back to him is perhaps not surprising."
In a statement to The Post, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung slammed the Biden administration over its energy agenda.
"As President Trump has said on the campaign trail multiple times, we need to increase energy production in order to help supercharge the economy and ease inflation caused by Biden's disastrous policies," he said.
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