Trump, the Christian Nationalist, Courts Wealthy Jewish Donors For Campaign Money

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The old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” accurately describes what Republican Donald Trump is trying to pull over on wealthy Jews as he goes on his never-ending quest for more money.

Specifically, he is targeting Miriam Adelson, the wife of the late Sheldon Adelson, who once called himself “the world’s richest Jew,” Blackstone Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman and Elliott Management’s Paul Singer, all of whom are Jewish, according to an article on MSN.  His goal is to get millions in donations from each.

Miriam Adelson is at the top of Trump’s charm campaign because her late husband, Sheldon Adelson, was one of the largest donors to Trump’s 2020 effort with $90 million in contributions.  This amount cited in the MSN article is understated since Adelson gave more to Trump and other Republicans.  Still, his vast donation to Trump is one of the most ego-driven acts in modern political history.

Jan. 20, 2017 – Washington, DC, United States of America – President-elect Donald Trump greets American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson. (Credit Image: © Richard Ellis/ZUMA Wire)

The reason: Sheldon Adelson was one of the most philanthropic donors to Jewish causes in the U.S. and Israel in modern history.  He was a solid supporter of right-wing causes in Israel and the U.S.  He also possessed an enormous ego.  As a businessman, he worked tirelessly to break unions in Las Vegas, crush liberal political dissent, and work with dark, secretive funds and lawyers to funnel as much money, above and under the table, to his preferred right-wing nationalist groups and political candidates.

When Adelson and the RJC made their contributions to Trump, it was evident that Trump was very friendly with right-wing neo-Nazis, the Republican Tea Party, and Christian Nationalists.  By the time Adelson made his donation, Trump was already making unflattering statements about Jews and meeting with anti-Semitic groups.

As this chart shows, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. was rising at the same time Adelson was giving money to Trump and indirectly to his right-wing supporters.  Note that this was years before the current Israel war against Hamas, which produced a more significant spike in attacks on Jewish institutions worldwide.

 

 

As a businessman, Adelson worked tirelessly to break unions in Las Vegas, crush liberal political dissent, and readily worked with dark, secretive funds and lawyers to funnel as much money, above and under the table, to his preferred right-wing nationalist groups and political candidates.

Adelson’s contributions, accompanied by contributions from the right-wing Republican Jewish Coalition to right-wing groups, often put the Jewish donors in the company of some groups who should have made them very uncomfortable, such as the Oath Keepers, QAnon, Proud Boys, KKK sympathizers, and neo-Nazis.  But this didn’t bother Adelson and the RJC.

In addition, Adelson donated large amounts to right-wing parties in Israel that helped Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secure power.  It would be interesting to see what Adelson would think of the current political turmoil in Israel and the pressure on right-wing parties, many of which received money from Adelson.  And despite all these contributions, when the war ends, it will see the end of Netanyahu’s government.

Adelson’s List of Right-Wing Contributions

But Trump’s trafficking with militant right-wing groups did not raise a red flag for Adelson. Instead, Adelson and his wife kept writing checks.  Here is a list of what they gave and to home, and all of them are right-wing causes:

“Twice-impeached President Donald Trump was enabled with a total of almost a quarter billion dollars in campaign contributions from 134 of America’s billionaires during his short, violent political career, more than half of it from recently deceased casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.  Those are among the findings of a new analysis from Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), which has highlighted the outsized rewards and influence of the billionaire class in recent months.” Source: Americans for Tax Fairness

“In the 2020 election, Adelson set a new record for political gifts from individuals, flooding the Trump campaign, related accounts, and many lesser Republican campaigns with a total of $172.7m, according to the campaign finance site Open Secrets.

The Adelsons were the top donors in every major election cycle going back a decade except for 2016, and their lifetime political giving amounted to about half a billion dollars, Open Secrets said.” Source: Open Secrets 

“Billionaire Republican donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have pumped $500,000 into a defense fund set up to help Donald Trump’s aides cover their legal costs associated with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.  The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust was set up last year to help campaign aides caught up in the Mueller investigation pay for costly legal bills.  The Adelsons each contributed $250,000 to the fund on Oct. 1, Politico reports, and were the only people who gave money from October to the end of 2018.  The new disclosure, filed Thursday, shows the fund paid more than half a million dollars to law firms between October and December.” Source: The Daily Beast

“According to Open Secrets, a nonprofit website that tracks campaign contributions, he and Miriam, his second wife, gave $83 million to Republicans in the 2016 election cycle.” Source: Washington Post       

“Mr. Adelson also gave generously to political causes unrelated to Israel — to campaigns against marijuana legalization, for instance, and to the fight against Internet wagering and online poker, which many in his industry viewed as an effort to safeguard his bricks-and-mortar casino empire in the guise of moral indignation.” Source: Washington Post

“The U.S. government charged Las Vegas Sands with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and in 2016 and 2017, the company paid more than $15 million in civil and criminal penalties.” Source: Washington Post

“A fund created to offset legal expenses associated with the Russia investigations paid over $150,000 in 2018 to cover legal expenses incurred by Stephen Miller, Dan Scavino, and Avi Berkowitz, according to documents obtained by CREW.” Source: CREW

Trump Comes Knocking on Miriam’s Door

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Sheldon Adelson died Jan. 11, 2021.

So, it’s no wonder that the sociopath Trump would come knocking on the doors of Miriam Adelson, Stephen Schwarzman, and Paul Singer, asking for money.  Miriam Adelson is at the top of the list since she is the heir to Adelson’s fortune and is ranked as the wealthiest woman in Israel.  Trump will come to Schwartzman and Singer to say that the carried interest tax loophole will be expanded and that their hedge funds will be less regulated under his administration.

The big question is whether Adelson et al. will be fooled again.  Given Trump’s declining mental health and the more visible signs that Trump considers himself a Second Jesus Christ pushing Christian nationalist messages and programs, what will the wealthy Jewish trio of Miriam Adelson, Stephen Schwarzman, and Paul Singer do?

Maybe they should take a lesson from Gary Cohn, an economic advisor to Trump and a former executive at Goldman Sachs, who drafted a resignation letter in 2017, weeks after the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which neo-Nazis chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”  After the neo-Nazi rally, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.  At the time, Cohn said, “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.” Cohn publicly distanced himself from Trump on this issue, unlike Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who defended Trump.

This contrast in how Jews should function in an environment that tolerates or even encourages anti-Semitism is worthy of a halachic decision since it involves a situation in which a few wealthy Jews will take an action that will affect the entire American Jewish community.  Sheldon Adelson never considered this when he made his first series of considerable donations to an increasing right-wing Republican party. In a few years, the Republican Party has blossomed into a Christian nationalist front.

Now, the RJC and its wealthy members must weigh whether their quest for tax breaks, trade benefits, retrograde laws on abortion, gay rights, book bans, and enacting the extreme right-wing policies enumerated in the Project 2025 Program is something that benefits American Jews, of whom 80% are Democrats.

Should the will of a few billionaires result in an election that will reduce the physical security and rights of the American Jewish community?

Or, will the Jewish billionaires and the RJC learn that after being tricked once, a person should learn from their mistakes and avoid being duped a second time?

 

 

 

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