WASHINGTON — After a rocky week on the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will not attend the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Spring Retreat this coming weekend in Las Vegas.
The Republican Jewish Coalition confirmed Monday that Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will be addressing the annual event, hosted by Republican billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson, at his flagship Venetian Casino.
Reports began circulating in the course of Monday that Trump, the current GOP frontrunner, would not attend. Trump participated in the organization’s candidates’ forum in December, where he was booed by the audience for refusing to commit to moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Cruz has repeatedly expressed his commitment to move the embassy. Competing neck-to-neck with Cruz in key primary states, Trump walked back his earlier ambiguity on the subject on the main stage of March’s AIPAC Policy Conference last month, where he proclaimed Jerusalem to be “the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
Prior to his AIPAC address, Trump also irked some prominent Jewish Republicans when he said that he would be a “neutral” party in brokering a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. At the previous Republican Jewish Coalition event, Trump also invoked a series of offensive Jewish stereotypes about money and power.
“You’re not gonna support me even though you know I’m the best thing that could ever happen to Israel. And I’ll be that. And I know why you’re not going to support me. You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Isn’t it crazy?” he said at the time. According to AP, he added: “You want to control your own politician.”
According to Republican Jewish Coalition schedules, neither Trump nor fellow contender Ohio Governor John Kasich will address the gathering. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a former presidential candidate who has supported Cruz in the fierce primary campaigning in his state, will attend.
The Republican Jewish Coalition confirmed Monday that Trump was invited to the event, but Trump’s campaign had not commented by Monday evening on why the candidate would not be not attending.
Adelson, who is a board member and major funder of the Republican Jewish Coalition, was believed in recent weeks to have warmed up to Trump’s candidacy. His Hebrew-language newspaper, Yisrael Hayom, recently featured the mogul prominently in a front-page interview.
Last year’s RJC Spring Leadership Retreat was an early candidates’ forum, where contenders tried to curry favor with Adelson.
While Adelson was an early supporter of former House speaker Newt Gingrich in the 2012 elections, he has yet to declare open support for any candidate in the current election. Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio were said to be in the running for his support before Rubio’s departure from the race last month, following the Florida primaries.