Jewish casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, got to Donald Trump’s inauguration bright and early this morning to claim their seats, right at the center of the dais.
Their seats, right on the aisle, put them within arm’s reach of the country’s most powerful political dignitaries, and just a few rows behind Trump himself. Politicians, not donors, dominate this most prestigious part of the dais.
The Adelsons’ prominent seats are somewhat surprising, given their reticence to support Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. Adelson made a massive last-minute cash infusion to the Trump campaign, after dithering for months.
Trump hasn’t forgotten the slight: At a dinner just days ago, the president-elect “mocked [Adelson] for being late to donate promised money to outside groups supporting his candidacy,” according to The New York Times.
As Trump arrived onstage, Miriam Adelson could be seen over his shoulder, shooting a picture on her camera phone.
Cameras caught the Adelsons kibitzing with former House speaker Newt Gingrich, whose failed 2012 presidential campaign floated with a total of $20 million in donations.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.