Reclusive Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter was drawn into the spotlight Thursday with the announcement that he and wife Laura had donated $1 million to Donald Trump’s fundraiser for wounded veterans.
The Republican presidential candidate described Perlmutter as “one of the great, great men of our country in terms of business and talent” during a rally last night at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, held at the same time as the GOP primary debate broadcast on Fox News.
The donation by the Perlmutters drew swift and widespread criticism on Twitter. However, a spokesperson for the couple released a statement saying, “The Perlmutters are thrilled to support their friend Donald Trump in his efforts to help veterans.”
Trump launched the veterans fundraiser, and organized the rally to compete with the GOP debate, as part of an escalating feud with Fox News. Donations actually go to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which the campaign says will then disburse money to veterans’ groups. However, the Trump organization hasn’t specified which organizations will benefit.
The fundraiser reportedly generated more than $6 million, with the Perlmutters joining a list of wealthy donors that includes real estate developers Phil Ruffin and Richard LeFrak, and, coincidentally enough, investor Carl Icahn, whose Icahn Enterprises briefly owned Marvel before it was wrestled away in 1998 by Perlmutter and Avi Arad.
The former co-owner of Toy Biz, Perlmutter is a self-made billionaire who earned $1.5 billion in cash and stock from the 2009 sale of Marvel to Disney. He and his wife donated $9 million just last year to help fund cancer research at NYU Langone Medical Center and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
The Perlmutters have also given $2 million to the presidential campaign of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.