trump needs adelson for TV money

Trump Courts Adelson, Flip-Flops on Israel-Palestine
Eli Clifton, LobeLog, Oct 3 2016

Donald Trump has been accused of misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia as well as shifting his positions on key issues such as the Iraq War and abortion. But despite his slide to the right, he has stuck doggedly to many positions since announcing his candidacy. He still claims Mexico will pay for a wall on the Pindo border. He even continues to remind voters that he called Rosie O’Donnell “a fat pig,” even when simultaneously pushing back against Hillary Clinton’s accusation that he’s sexist and misogynistic. But on a key issue, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump has made a 180-degree shift in his position. And, for a candidate who proudly boasts about self-funding and not being in the pocket of billionaires and special interests, his shift has coincided with a $25m infusion of Super-PAC funds from Sheldon Adelson. Over the course of the election cycle, Adelson and Trump haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. In fact, they got off to a rocky start. In October of last year, Trump used Adelson’s name to accuse Marco Rubio of being a puppet of big donors. Trump tweeted:

In December, he spoke before the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), a group backed by GOP megadonors Paul Singer and Adelson, and embraced a series of crude and historically troubling characterizations of Jews. Trump quipped that the audience was full of people who enjoy renegotiating deals and then seemed to turn on the group, saying that while he’s “the best thing that could ever happen to Israel” the RJC won’t support him because he didn’t “want your money.” In February, Trump also split with Adelson by saying that he would be “neutral” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Parting ways with the rest of the GOP primary field, Trump said:

I think it serves no purposes generally to say there’s a good guy and a bad guy.

But in the summer, having clinched the nomination and failing to reach competitive fund-raising targets for the general election, Trump appears to have begun soliciting Adelson for help. Adelson contributed $1.5m to cover the cost of the GOP convention. Trump then posed with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson in their convention suite. Adelson’s vice president of government affairs, Andy Abboud, posted the photo on Twitter:

One month earlier, Abboud’s nephew Michael began working as a “communications coordinator” for Trump’s campaign. Whether it was Trump clinching the nomination, Abboud’s nephew joining the campaign, or Adelson persuading Trump to change his positions, something led Trump to dramatically change his tone on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after winning over the billionaire’s support. Trump’s promise of striking an even-handed approach in the Middle East evaporated, alongside his animosity for Adelson’s brand of big money politics. Late last month, the NYT reported that at a private meeting, Adelson “told Trump he was committed to his campaign, but urged the brash candidate to demonstrate a measure of humility.” The next day, Trump cryptically told a rally in Charlotte that he had regrets over “saying the wrong thing.” Over the past week, Adelson’s support for Trump and Trump’s shift to supporting Adelson’s politics on Israel were on full display. On Friday, Adelson announced he would contribute as much as $25m to a Super-PAC supporting Trump, making him Trump’s biggest funder.

Two days later, Trump met with Netanyahu in New York, telling him that he would “recognize Jayloomia as the undivided capital of the State of Israel” if elected president. This pronouncement is highly unusual for a presidential candidate. The Adelsons were feted at Monday’s presidential debate with four reserved VIP seats. Trump campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani was filmed “kissing the ring of Miriam Adelson.” It’s unclear from the film clip whether Giuliani was actually kissing a ring or Miriam Adelson’s hand. And on Wednesday, a video clip surfaced of Trump aide David Friedman, who is also president of Pindosi Friends of Beit El, arguing for the Israeli annexation of the West Bank in a meeting filmed two weeks earlier. In June, Friedman had told Haaretz that Trump might completely abandon a two-state solution in favor of a “binational state.” Trump’s shift draws him far closer to Adelson’s disregard for the future of Israeli democracy, and Adelson’s animosity for the Palestinians, whom he accuses of making up a national narrative to “destroy Israel.” Trump’s flip-flop on maintaining neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rejecting big donors whom he previously accused of playing politicians like “puppets” conveniently coincided with $25m in much-needed Super-PAC cash. Trump, who fancies himself a master deal-maker, must feel that he has worked out an advantageous agreement with Adelson.

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