WASHINGTON — Sheldon Adelson said, “Why not?” when asked if he could support Donald Trump’s candidacy.
Tal Schneider, an Israeli political blogger, reported recently that she had obtained video of a Las Vegas charitable event attended by Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate, pro-Israel philanthropist and Republican kingmaker.
Adelson was asked if he could support Trump, the front-runner among Republican presidential candidates, as his candidacy has raised concerns among politically conservative Jews because of his professions of neutrality on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his broadsides against Muslims, Mexicans and others.
“Why not?” replied Adelson, who had been considering whether to back Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, or Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Rubio subsequently quit the race this week after losing in his home state to Trump.
“Trump is a businessman,” Adelson said at the February 27 event. “I’m a businessman. He employs many people.”
Adelson made the remarks at an affair honoring Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor whose 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nod was backed by Adelson.
This week, Giuliani told Adelson’s Israeli daily, Israel Hayom, that Trump was likely the inevitable GOP candidate and that the party would rally around him.
“They’re all going to get behind Donald Trump,” Giuliani said. “Here’s one thing we’re united about — we do not want Hillary Clinton as president of the United States.”
In December the mogul praised Trump’s “charm” following a meeting in which the two men discussed Israel, among other subjects.
Adelson, and his money, have long been highly significant players in Republican politics. In the 2012 election cycle he spent over $90 million on Republican candidates — first on former House speaker Newt Gingrich and then on the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney.