American Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Republican Jewish Coalition are said to be “laying the groundwork” for a visit to Israel by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, ahead of the party convention in July that is expected to see the businessman formally claim the nomination.
The Guardian newspaper on Friday night quoted three conservative sources “with strong ties to Adelson,” who sad that the casino mogul has pushed the benefits of a visit to the Jewish state.
“I’m sure Sheldon suggested the trip,” the paper quoted a conservative donor close to Adelson as saying.
Planning for the visit is already underway, the paper said, but added that “nothing has been finalized.”
According to the Guardian, Zionist Organization of America chief Morton Klein, who is considered to be close to Adelson, said he was told by Jewish Trump aide Jason Greenblatt that the presidential candidate would indeed visit the Jewish state ahead of the Republican convention that begins on 18 July in Cleveland, Ohio.
Adelson earlier this week sent out an email to more than 50 Republican Jewish leaders, “asking for your support” for Trump. Adelson told them he had met with Trump recently and is “specifically convinced he will be a tremendous president when it comes to the safety and security of Israel.”
Most RJC members backed other Republican candidates over Trump in the primary contest, and some have been put off by Trump’s divisive comments and ideas, such as temporarily banning all Muslims from entering the country.
“Like many of you, I do not agree with him on every issue,” Adelson wrote in the email, obtained by The Associated Press. “However, I will not sit idly by and let Hillary Clinton become the next president. The consequences to our country, and Israel, are far too great to take that risk.”
Adelson was the top donor of the 2012 presidential race, with his family putting almost $90 million into it, and he has signaled he is willing to be a financial driver again.
Earlier in the race, Trump dismissed GOP rival Marco Rubio as striving to be “a perfect little puppet” of Adelson, who in addition to supporting Israel wants to ban internet gambling. Trump, at the time, brushed off Adelson and other donors, saying he doesn’t need them because he is a billionaire himself.
More recently, as Trump begins to assemble a fundraising team and seek big donations, he has been more complimentary.
“An incredible honor to receive the endorsement of a person I have such tremendous respect for. Thank you, Sheldon!” Trump wrote on Twitter last week after Adelson wrote an endorsement editorial in the Washington Post.
Adelson attached that editorial in his email to the RJC board of directors.
AP contributed to this report