Unlike his likely rival in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has not appointed an official liaison to the Jewish community. But he is building a team of advisors that features several new Jewish individuals in addition to the employees who have thus far advised him on Jewish issues.
Earlier this week Trump put Michael Glassner, currently serving as deputy campaign manager, in charge of preparations for the Republican nominating convention. In addition, Trump named Steven Mnuchin, a Wall Street financier, to serve as his national finance chairman.
The two Jewish advisers will join several other members of the Jewish community filling key roles in the Trump campaign, including Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, two lawyers who are consulting Trump on issues relating to Israel, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has emerged as one of Trump’s close confidants in the campaign.
Glassner, according to a Politico report will be Trump’s front man in preparation for the Cleveland convention, which will test the candidate’s ability to unite the Republican Party.
A former AIPAC regional director, Glassner was an adviser to presidential campaigns of several Republican candidates. His last political stint was in 2008, when he managed Sarah Palin’s vice presidential campaign.
”I don’t think there can be any question about [Trump’s] steadfast support for Israel,” Glassner said in a February interview with Jewish Insider.
“I would not be working here if I didn’t believe that that was held by the candidate himself. It’s very important to me, very important to him and the country.”
Mnuchin, a hedge fund manager and former Goldman Sachs partner assumed the position of national finance chairman this week.
Mnuchin’s political donations have favored Democratic candidates. He also contributed $7,000 to Hillary Clinton’s previous senatorial and presidential campaigns. After leaving Goldman Sachs Mnuchin founded OneWest Bank Group and has financed many high-budget Hollywood films.
His father, Robert Mnuchin is a Jewish philanthropist and art collector.
Trump’s search for advisers, though in unofficial roles, on issues relating to Israel, led him to two Jewish business associates. Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew who in his day job serves as Trump’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, was asked by the presumptive nominee to advise him on Israel issues though he does not have extensive ties with players on the Israeli – Palestinian scene.
Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer, is known for his close ties with the settler community in the West Bank. He heads the American Friends of Bet El Institutions, which raises money for project in the settlement and is a regular columnist in Arutz Sheva, a right wing radio outlet. In his columns, Friedman has been a harsh critic of President Obama’s policy toward Israel.
Nathan Guttman is the Forward’s politics reporter. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was 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.