Donald Trump is at Sheldon Adelson’s home turf in Vegas, but relations between the Republican presidential candidate and the Jewish casino mogul are deteriorating.
Adelson, a guest of honor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas debate, is currently Trump’s biggest donor. But that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
According to a Fox Business News repot Adelson feels Trump has taken the wrong route in his presidential campaign. An email sent by Adelson to Trump calls on the Republican candidate to temper his attacks on fellow GOP members, especially House Speaker Paul Ryan, and instead focus his message on attacking Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama’s records. According to the report, Adelson believes Trump should stress the slow economic recovery and press on issues that have emerged from the Clinton campaign as a result of WikiLeaks reports.
Adelson is among a small group of Republican donors who are scheduled to meet with Trump before the debate at Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas.
Trump wasn’t Adelson’s first or second choice for the Republican nomination, but once the primary race ended Adelson stood wholeheartedly behind Trump, pledging up to $100 million in support and calling on his fellow Republican Jewish donors to join in. But then, viewing Trump’s lagging campaign, Adelson scaled back his support, paying up late in the race and only a fraction of the initial pledge.
Despite his dislike of Trump’s conduct, Adelson and his wife Miriam top the list of donors to the Trump campaign and pro-Trump super PACs. According to recent filings, the Adelsons gave $250,000 in August to the joint fundraising operation of the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee and another $10 million to Future 45, a pro-Trump super PAC.
These generous donations can buy Adelson a front row seat at the Las Vegas debate and a chance to vent his complaints directly to the candidate, but they’re unlikely to bring about major change in the way Trump is running his presidential campaign. And even Adelson knows that. According to Fox Business News, people close to Adelson said the Vegas mega-donor believes that Donald Trump “doesn’t listen to anyone, anyone including his own family and his new campaign manager Steve Bannon.”
Trump may have one favor up his sleeve that could help ease Adelson’s anger: On October 26, Trump and his running mate Mike Pence plan to address by video a Jerusalem rally of supporters organized by Republicans in Israel. Adelson has made clear throughout his career in political giving that Israel is his top issue of concern.
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.