The current Congressional investigations show that the Trump administration and its right-wing supporters attempted to overthrow the U.S. government. But, this would not have been possible without substantial financial support, and the most significant financial supporter of Trump was the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).
The RJC has its own motives for backing Trump, his ideas, and his favored candidates. But the bigger question is why they made millions in contributions to Trump even when it was known that Trump was working with white Christian nationalists.
The RJC continued to fund Trump even after it became evident that anti-Semitic events were increasing and that right-wing groups had direct links to Trump and the Republican Party.
This was evident to the late-Sheldon Adelson, (who died in January 2021), Bernie Marcus, Jeffrey Yass, Paul Singer, Steven Schwarzman, and others in the RJC. (The Adelsons are Trump’s most prominent individual contributors, with $75 million in donations.) They are all donors and funders, to whatever degree, to Trump’s white supremacist followers and their beliefs about anti-Semitism.
The RJC made hundreds of millions in contributions to Trump and his white supremacist supporters. At the same time, they ignored a warning from the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which said in 2019 that “the biggest threat to the security of American Jews today is, incredibly, the president of the United States.” In 2019, Trump was the president of the US, and he also was the darling of the RJC.
The Link Between Trump, Republicans and White Supremacists
Connecting the dots between the enormous contributions to Trump and the Republican Party and their support of white supremacist groups may seem unfounded and irresponsible to many Jewish conservatives, including those in the ADL. But some facts support this assertion.
In August 2019, a Republican state senator from Nebraska accused the GOP of helping to enable white supremacy, according to The Hill.
“The Republican Party is enabling white supremacy in our country,” Nebraska state Sen. John McCollister (R) tweeted.
“As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s the truth,” McCollister continued. “I, of course, am not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists, nor am I saying that the average Republican is even racist. What I am saying, though, is that the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party.”
Jewish groups have also singled out the RJC for its political hypocrisy. Abe Foxman, the former head of the Anti-Defamation League, said that Trump “has given succor to bigots, supremacists, and those seeking to divide our society.” Foxman also said, “(w)hen our democracy is weakened, and when nativism is stoked, the rights of Jews and other minorities will be diminished too.” But these warnings were not acknowledged by the RJC then or now.
Instead, the RJC continues to support Republican candidates who are anti-abortion, anti-public school, anti-immigrant, anti-liberal, and Trump supporters.
Given their wealth and political access, the billionaires who sit on the RJC’s board may be the financial engine behind the nation’s most dangerous political grouPs.
How the RJC Works
The RJC has links to the Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund, a super PAC. “A super PAC is a political committee that can solicit and spend unlimited sums of money. A super PAC cannot contribute directly to a politician or political party, but it can spend independently to campaign for or against political figures,” according to Ballotpedia.
The RJC’s most significant individual contributor was the late Sheldon Adelson. In 2020, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson set a new record for donations from individuals in a single election cycle, giving $172.7 million, according to Open Secrets. In 2020, the Adelson’s gave $170 million in outside spending this year. As they have for 30 years, all their donations went to Republicans and conservative groups, Open Secrets said.
The Adelsons have been behind significant contributions to right-wing Republican groups for decades. Over the past decade, the Adelson’s “gave more than anyone else” in 2018 and 2012 to Republican candidates, most of them conservative. The Adelson’s “was just short of the No. 1 spot in 2016.”
In the past decade, the Adelsons gave $480 million to conservative Republicans. Adelson and the RJC continued to give donations to Trump and his right-wing followers even after it became evident that Trump was working with white supremacists.
Why Is There an RJC, Anyway?
Ego is a huge part of every billionaire’s life, and the top members of the RJC are no exception. Certainly, these people have every right to advocate for conservative, and even right-wing Republican candidates. But it’s not clear what that political conservatism has to do with being Jewish.
Maybe it’s the link between Jewish values, Israel, and antisemitism. But, as events have shown, antisemitism was on the rise even as the RJC was making record-breaking donations to the Republican Party, which has demonstrated links to white nationalists. The RJC may also think they are promoting Jewish values, which have a 2,000-year-old legal and cultural basis that varies widely from nation to nation. But, those values have largely been liberal, as evidenced by the fact that about 80% of Jewish voters have voted for Democrats since Woodrow Wilson.
Then there is the issue of Israel. But, since 1948, Israel has benefitted greatly from bipartisan Congressional political support, and the RJC’s partisanship only detracts from that history. But to make their right-wing positions more palatable to Jews, the RJC has painted Trump as an exceptional supporter of Israel and fighting antisemitism, none of which is true.
A better explanation for the RJC’s political support of Republcans is financial. The professions of the leaders of the RJC are in industries that benefit greatly from tax loopholes and preferential tax schemes. This includes the carried interest tax loophole that benefits predatory capitalism practiced by some private equity, hedge fund, and real estate developers, which are the professions of many leaders in the RJC. Safeguarding this preferential financial edge and estate planning breaks makes more sense than the RJC’s claim of promoting Jewish values or the security of Israel.
Don’t Forget to Investigate Steven Miller
Steven Miller was the White House aide in the Trump administration responsible for immigration policies. But, Miller is also familiar with white supremacists, despite being Jewish. Miller was friends with the white supremacist Richard Spencer in college. Spencer has praised Miller as “highly competent” for the job.
“The fact that [Miller] was one of the architects of the Trump administration’s Muslim ban, and the policies of reducing refugee admissions, halving legal immigration, and separating children from their parents at the border” all point to a white supremacist political bent according to an article in The Intercept.
Time to Investigate the RJC and its Donations to Right-Wing Groups
As one of the largest financial donors to Trump, Congress should look into the RJC’s role in bankrolling Trump and his supporters. The RJC should also assure donors that its money did not get into the coffers of the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, or Trump’s corrupt lawyers.
Until the RJC can provide evidence that they did not finance Trump’s insurrection, donors should realize that the goals of the RJC to protect the tax loopholes and other financial safeguards they now receive have nothing to do with the goals of average Americans.