A few years ago, Stephen Schwarzman was just the latest deep pocket on Wall Street to open up to Donald Trump. Right now, he’s the biggest one left.

Donations to Trump’s 2020 campaign from the most elite corners of American finance would be down drastically compared with 2016 -- were it not for the notable exception of Schwarzman, who has become one of the president’s most ardent Wall Street backers.

Indeed, the private equity mogul single-handedly accounts for the vast bulk of the reported contributions toward Trump’s re-election effort over the past 18 months from people associated with the 31 banks and investment firms that dominate the U.S. financial industry.

Schwarzman, co-founder of Blackstone Group Inc., has contributed $3.7 million of the $4.8 million from this select group, a Bloomberg analysis found. Without him, the total amount would represent a 69% decline from the 2016 cycle.

The analysis is based on a review of disclosed campaign donations of at least $1,000 from employees at the group of companies -- including banks, asset managers, hedge funds and private-equity firms like Blackstone -- to Trump’s campaign, the largest political action committees backing him, and the Republican National Committee. It includes donations from spouses.

Giving to Trump has wavered even though Wall Street has generally thrived under his administration. Banks got some of the biggest breaks when he pushed through tax cuts. His regulators eased industry rules. Trading desks are coming off one of their best runs ever, despite the tumult in the broader economy brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally money flows to incumbent Republican presidents from Wall Street, which leans to the right and likes safe bets.

But for the first time since 2008, most of the broader financial industry’s money is flowing to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Democratic challenger Joe Biden has raised five times as much from people in the securities and investment industry as Trump.

So why aren’t Wall Street denizens shelling out the way they did in 2016?

Bloomberg reached out to dozens who previously donated to Trump but shut their wallets this time. Virtually none wanted to discuss it publicly. Some, in demurring, pointed to the charged political climate. None had switched to Biden.

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