US President Donald Trump rebuked Republican party mega-donor Sheldon Adelson for not donating more money to his reelection campaign, according to media reports.
The exchange took place during a phone call last week, The New York Times and Politico reported, both citing those familiar with the call.
It came after a recent NY Times report that Republican mega-donors, including Adelson, are focusing their funding on maintaining the party’s Senate majority, rather than Trump’s campaign for reelection in November.
Trump was in a bad mood all week, according to people familiar with the circumstances, the NY Times reported Friday.
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated $10 million to Trump through a super PAC in 2018, and have donated close to $600,000 each to his current campaign, the report said.
A billionaire casino magnate and Jewish philanthropist, Adelson had called Trump to discuss the coronavirus relief bill and the economy, the Politico website reported Saturday.
However, Trump brought the conversation around to donations, complaining that Adelson, 87, had not given enough, three sources with knowledge of the call told the website.
One of the sources said it was clear that Trump had “no idea” how much Adelson had given. The sources said that Adelson did not rise to the antagonism from the president.
Republican Party officials were reportedly concerned at the call and made efforts to calm ties with Adelson. Allies of Adelson have said it is not yet clear if the incident will influence Adelson’s donations to the Trump reelection campaign.
The White House declined to comment on the reports, Politico said.
Politico reported that, with three months to go before the elections, Trump’s presumed Democrat rival Joe Biden is enjoying a flood of funding that he has not been able to match.
Since spring, outside groups have spent nearly three times as much as Trump’s backers. Pro-Biden groups have reserved over $70 million in TV campaigns in the run up to the elections, compared to just $42 million of Trump supporters, Politico reported, citing the media tracking firm Advertising Analytics.
As Trump’s poll numbers drop in light of the surging coronavirus pandemic, Republican mega-donors are increasingly directing their funds toward helping the party keep its Senate majority, according to a New York Times report last month.
That includes Adelson and his wife Miriam, who donated $25 million to a Super PAC aimed at helping Senate Republicans in the November election. The contribution marks the couple’s largest yet donation of the 2020 campaign season.
The New York Times report said that private discussions were ongoing between a number of major GOP donors to shift resources toward the Senate rather than Trump’s reelection.
It is not clear whether Adelson has been part of those talks.
Republicans cited several reasons why they were considering the strategy, from a “lack of confidence” that Trump will beat former vice president Joe Biden and concern that the president is hurting down-ballot candidates, to an attempt to prevent Democrats from potentially controlling both the legislative and executive branch.