Donald Trump has been having a difficult time raising money from donors.
Just how difficult? He ended the month of May with a mere $1.3 million in his war chest, while his rival Hillary Clinton boasted $42 million in fundraising during the same filing period.
It should have looked different, at least based on the promises of one leading Jewish donor. But Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who reportedly had promised to provide Trump with as much as $100 million for his campaign, has given so far nothing to Trump.
Zero. Zilch. Nada (Memo to Donald: that’s how Mexicans say nothing). Bupkis (Memo to Sheldon: You know that’s Jewish for the same thing).
According to the Forward’s campaign donation tracking, Adelson has not made any political contributions since the beginning of 2016. Other Jewish mega donors have given sizable funds to political candidates and Super PACs in recent months, though none have made major gifts to Trump.
Waiting for the later phases of the presidential race before writing a check is not unheard of among political donors, especially when having a prolonged primary campaign like the one the Republicans have endured until May.
Adelson only pledged his generous support for Trump after the primaries were concluded and it became clear all other candidates had dropped out. Since, Adelson may have began to pour money into the campaign and supporting Super PACs which have not yet showed up on Federal Election Committee reports.
But as for now it is clear that Adelson and other Jewish mega donors are absent from Trump’s finance operation.
“Jewish Republican donors are the most sophisticated donors out there,” said Lisa Spies, who served as director of Jewish outreach for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign and worked for Jeb Bush’s recent campaign. “They don’t only write checks, they want to see a plan, and what’s holding them back is that there is literally zero organization or finance operation in the Trump campaign.” She added that Trump has yet to establish a Jewish outreach operation that could work with Jewish donors and, more importantly, has not yet reached out personally to top Jewish donors to ask for their funding.
Adelson is among the few Jewish Republican donors who has actually sat down with Trump for a one-on-one to discussed the candidate’s plans as well as his policy on issues relating to Israel and the Middle East.
The Vegas billionaire has never confirmed publicly his intention to donate $100 million to Trump. If he does live up to the promise, Adelson holds the power to turn Trump’s campaign around and provide the candidate with the financial bounce he now desperately needs.
But as of now, there are no signs of whether he intends to so, and if so, when. A spokesman for Adelson did not respond to questions on the issue.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.