Prominent Republican donor Sheldon Adelson on Thursday said he would support Donald Trump for the US presidency.
“Yes. I’m a Republican, he’s a Republican,” Adelson said at a Manhattan event when asked if he would back Trump, according to The New York Times. “He’s our nominee. Whoever the nominee would turn out to be, any one of the 17 — he was one of the 17. He won fair and square.”
The Jewish billionaire, and owner of the pro-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom, said he believes Trump “will be good for Israel,” and noted, without elaborating, that the two spoke recently.
Adelson donated tens of millions of dollars to Mitt Romney and organizations supporting the Republican challenger in the last election, and was by far the largest such donor.
Adelson had previously declared Trump to be “very charming” after meeting him in December, but stopped short of endorsing him or supporting his campaign. Trump has prided himself in his campaign speeches on not needing the support of mega-donors like Adelson, whom other candidates, at the time, were assiduously courting.
In October, Trump tweeted “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”
US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the nation’s top Republican, said Thursday he was not yet prepared to support Trump as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, signaling a deep rift within the GOP.
“To be perfectly candid… I’m just not ready to do that at this point,” Ryan told CNN. “I hope to, though, and I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify this party.”
Ryan, who repeated he would not accept the nomination in case of a contested convention, was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012 and is currently second in line to the presidency.
“He’s got some work to do,” Ryan said, noting that “the bulk and the burden” was on Trump to begin the healing after a brutal primary campaign and the brash billionaire’s string of insulting remarks about other candidates, Muslims, Mexicans, refugees, women and others.
“It’s time to set aside bullying. It’s time to set aside belittlement,” Ryan said.
Thursday’s comments were all the more startling because Trump has now emerged as the party’s standard-bearer and Ryan will be co-chairman of the Republican presidential nominating convention in July.
Trump shot back within minutes.
“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” he said in a statement. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people.”
Trump won Tuesday’s hotly contested Indiana primary, pushing Ted Cruz and John Kasich out of the race and leaving him as the presumptive nominee.