Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson
Miriam and Sheldon Adelson in the audience on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol for Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)

The highest-spending donors in U.S. politics, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given Republican-allied groups $55 million in the last few months, hoping the GOP will maintain its majority in Congress after the midterm elections.

The Adelsons were initially skeptical of President Trump but agree with much of his agenda, which has been pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian and focused on deregulation and cutting taxes, the New York Times reported Saturday. Sheldon Adelson has a direct line to President Trump and has used his access to advocate for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and slashing aid to the Palestinians.

The relationship is based on a mutual appreciation of the transaction, says the Times. “I think there are a lot of leaders in the establishment Jewish community for whom Donald Trump is not the kind of guy they’d want to break matzo with, but they sure like his policies and what he’s doing,” Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, told the paper. "In a lot of circles outside the ‘Always Trump’ base, Trump has made a lot of progress with people who don’t like him personally but like him professionally.”

The Adelsons have given much of the $55 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to House Speaker Paul Ryan, and the Senate Leadership Fund, which is closely affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

 

The relationship between Trump and the Adelsons wasn't always so felicitous. During the 2016 GOP presidential primary, Trump attacked Sheldon Adelson on Twitter when he supported Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign. After Adelson began supporting Trump, the candidate spoke to a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group the Adelsons helped found, and reinforced Jewish stereotypes by referring to the room's ability to negotiate deals.

But the Adelsons and Trump found enough common ground that the couple became one of the biggest donors to his campaign. In January 2017, Miriam Adelson cried "tears of joy" and hugged Trump after he told her he planned to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Times reported.

The Adelsons were also the biggest donors to Trump's inauguration, giving $5 million, according to federal election records. More than $107 million was raised in total for the event — twice what President Obama raised for his first inauguration. The bulk of that amount, $57 million, went to four event-planning companies, including $26 million to one created by a friend of Melania Trump six weeks before the inaugural. Only $5 million was given to charity. An official with the government watchdog group Public Citizen called it "fiscal mismanagement at its worst."

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