The billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has died aged 87, spent hundreds of millions of dollars in later life as Republican kingmaker—and President Donald Trump was a key beneficiary of this largesse.
Adelson, who died of complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, had an estimated worth of around $35 billion, according to Forbes.
This gave him and his wife Miriam plenty of scope to hand vast sums of money to GOP campaigns and causes through super PACs.
The Adelsons became the biggest individual donors in American history in 2012 when they gave over $90 million to the unsuccessful Republican campaign to beat President Barack Obama.
Aiming for a GOP win next time around, he reportedly told Donald Trump in May 2016 that he would spend more than he had in any previous campaign, raising the prospect of a donation exceeding $100 million. He eventually gave the Trump presidential campaign a smaller amount, but the $25 million donation was still the Trump campaign’s largest.
However, following the election, he gave $5 million to the committee that organized the inauguration, and he and his wife had a front-row seat at the ceremony when Trump took the oath of office in January 2017. Trump awarded him the President Medal of Freedom in 2018.
For the 2018 mid-term elections, the Adelsons spent nearly $124 million in publicly disclosed donations to GOP super PACs, campaign committees and candidates.
Meanwhile, during Trump’s re-election bid in 2020, the Adelsons gave $50 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is the top House GOP super PAC, as well as $70 million to the Senate Leadership Fund. By October 2020, the Adelsons had funded Preserve America, a pro-Trump super PAC, to the tune of $75 million.
The couple’s total contributions for the Republican cause in the 2020 cycle were $218 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, whose figures show that the couple has given nearly $524 million since 2010—$424 million since the start of Trump’s election campaign in 2016. The couple also gave millions over the years to pro-Israel organizations.
Top Republicans paid tribute to Adelson, with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, saying that “the legacy he leaves behind will last many lifetimes.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Adelson was a “remarkable American.”
His wife Miriam said in a statement: “He was my partner in romance, philanthropy, political activism and enterprise. He was my soulmate.”
Sheldon Adelson Gave Trump and Republicans Over $424 Million Since 2016 The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Newsweek.