The Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart was pictured at Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign launch at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on Wednesday, in the background of a photo posted to Instagram by the former president’s son Eric.
Rinehart, the executive chair of mining and agricultural company Hancock Prospecting, has publicly backed Trump since at least 2016, when he was elected president.
In a speech to a mining conference in Mount Isa in November 2016, she said she had recently met with members of Trump’s campaign team including Rudy Giuliani and then-campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
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She said Trump and his team had won the 2016 election despite “constant and unrelenting negative coverage”, because they “listened to the people of America” who wanted “less government tape, secondly less taxation, and for the USA to grow and be economically strong again”.
Rinehart urged Australia to follow Trump’s lead on his plan to cut “federal government tape” by 50% in his first months of office, and to cut company tax to 15%.
Rinehart, considered Australia’s richest person and one of the richest women in the world, also attended a 2019 state dinner hosted by Trump at the White House for former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.
She is also named as a member of the Trumpettes, an all-female Trump high society supporter group founded in the US in 2015, according to multiple social media posts from the network. She is referred to in one of their posts as the “lead Trumpette in Australia”. In 2018 the group dubbed Rinehart “Trumpette of the week”.
The Trumpettes were founded by Hollywood reporter turned socialite Toni Holt Kramer. The group says on its site “your job as a Trumpette is to help get the real Donald J. Trump elected … introduce the real man to your family, your friends, the people you work with and anyone you come in contact with … and then be ready to explain why you think Donald Trump will be the best president for all of America”.
Also seen in the photo posted by Eric Trump, standing just behind Rinehart, was Mike Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, an alleged conspiracy theorist who has also heavily backed Trump.
Guardian Australia has contacted Rinehart for a response.