Mega-Donor Sheldson Adelson Says “Why Not?” When Asked If He Would Support Donald Trump
When asked recently if he would support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for US president, Sheldon Adelson asked the rhetorical question, “Why not?”
The president and founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp said previously that he would not announce his preference for GOP presidential candidates until February, at the earliest. It was clear that Adelson, who was the top donor for the Republicans in 2012, wanted to see the field of candidate narrowed down.
In the early stages of the nomination process, many speculated that Adelson would end up supporting either Sen. Ted Cruz or Sen. Marco Rubio. The Republican mega-donor signaled in December 2015 that he was open to supporting any of the long list of candidates at the time.
Would Support Any GOP Candidate
He said back in December of the Republican field, “Any one of the 14 candidates is better than what we have today, better than what the opposition has by far. So whoever becomes the nominee, I’m going to support.”
Among the Republican establishment, Sheldon Adelson got on board the Trump bandwagon sooner than many. His comments were made in February 2016 at a gala event he was attending. Tal Schneider, a popular Israeli blogger, at the event asked the world’s richest casino mogul whether he would support Donald Trump or not.
Says Trump Is a Businessman, Like Him
Adelson answered Schneider, “Trump is a businessman. I am a businessman. He employs a lot of people. I employed 50,000 people. Why not?”
After telling a crowd of people at the event a joke making the same point, Sheldon Adelson added, “If I were running, I would have endorsed myself.”
The event Sheldon Adelson was attending was in the honor of former New York City mayor, Rudy Guiliani, whom he supported for president in 2008. When he was asked at the event his thoughts on Donald Trump, Guiliani sounded like he would support the real estate mogul, too.
Guiliani: “The Real Trump Is Thoughtful“
Guiliani told a reporter from Jewish Insider, a paper owned by Adelson, “The real Trump is thoughtful, intelligent and very well-educated. He has extensive political knowledge, and he chooses to support good people.”
Sheldon Adelson paid $90 million to Republican candidates and causes in the 2012 election cycle, making him the biggest donor in the new era of big money donations. That money ultimately was for naught, because the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, lost in the electoral college, 332-206.
In the 2012 vote, President Obama won with 50.6% of the vote and 62.6 million votes, to Mitt Romney’s 47.8% and 59.1 million votes. Romney finished 3.5 million votes behind Obama, but that was still 6 million votes closer than John McCain had done in 2008.
Sheldon Adelson’s Politics
Adelson’s main causes appear to be support for Israel and online gambling. While banning online casinos is likely to be a side issue for Adelson, he has been an outspoken advocate for a hawkish stance towards Iran, once advocating Israel should unilaterally bomb Iran. Those comments drew the ire of Iranian intelligence, who launched a cyber-attack against the Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s database.
One assumes that Donald Trump, as a former casino owner himself, would be amenable to gaming interests. Often in the past, land-based casino operators have been hostile to online gambling. Donald Trump’s stance on gaming laws have no come into the debate yet, but Trump’s suggested before that everything is negotiable, so long as it’s good for the country. Sheldon Adelson is likely to see Trump as a man he can do business with.
The question is whether Donald Trump is going to provide the kind of unqualified support for Israel which Adelson wants. Donald Trump’s signals have been mixed on that count. Ted Cruz tried to pin down Trump on his statements in the debates, because they appeared contradictory.
Donald Trump on Iranian Treaty
Donald Trump did not take the standard Republican stance that the Iranian deal should be ripped up on Day 1 of the next presidency. Instead, Trump said he would leave in place the old deal, but try to negotiate a new one. Sen. Marco Rubio seemed beside himself, suggesting that the Iranians would have no reason to negotiate a new pact, if the old was was still in-effect.
Ted Cruz also took Donald Trump to task over his suggestion that he would act as an impartial mediator in the dispute between the State of Israel and the Palestinians. Sen. Cruz suggested that Trump was refusing to back Israel, but instead signaling to Israel’s enemies that “the region’s only liberal democracy” would not have America’s full and unqualified backing.
Donald Trump on Israel: “Probably the Toughest Deal in the World to Make“
Donald Trump gave his most definitive statement on Israel in a town hall interview on “Morning Joe”, the show co-hosted by former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinksi, the daughter of Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Describing how difficult any negotiation would be, Donald Trump said, “You know, I don’t want to get into it. If I win, I don’t want to be in a position where I’m saying to you [my choice] and the other side now says, ‘We don’t want Trump involved.”
Donald Trump said he wants to be a disinterested third party, to help facilitate a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
He added, “Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I have friends of mine that are tremendous businesspeople, that are really great negotiators, [and] they say it’s not doable. You understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. So I don’t want to say whose fault it is — I don’t think that helps. That’s probably the toughest deal in the world right now to make. It’s possible it’s not makeable because, don’t forget, it has to last.“