Trump 'antagonizes' one of his biggest donors in 'heated' call

Some Republicans reportedly fear the president may have put his re-election campaign funding in jeopardy after call with billionaire Sheldon Adelson

Chris Riotta
New York
Saturday 08 August 2020 19:46 BST
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Things took a sharp turn during a phone call between Donald Trump and one of his most important donors, according to a new report, with some Republicans fearing he put his campaign funding in jeopardy.

The president had a phone call last week with conservative donor Sheldon Adelson, the 87-year-old American business magnate who has pledged to donate at least $100m to help re-elect Mr Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill.

During that phone call, Mr Trump appeared unaware of how much Mr Adelson has already donated to his campaign, and how much more he was willing to spend to help other Republicans win in November, an anonymous source with direct knowledge of the call told Politico.

The publication said Mr Trump “antagonized” Mr Adelson during the call, which was initially meant to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, a congressional stimulus package and the nation’s faltering economy, which has suffered a massive blow after Covid-19 caused lockdown orders nationwide.

But the president had other plans, reportedly demanding to know why Mr Adelson had not helped enough to support his re-election. The call came as several national surveys showed Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, pulling ahead of the Republican incumbent in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which handed Mr Trump the election in 2016.

The report also said it was “unclear” to Mr Adelson’s associates whether the billionaire would change his plans to continue spending lofty amounts in the 2020 election for Mr Trump or his conservative allies.

Mr Adelson and his wife donated a staggering $124 million towards political campaigns throughout the 2018 midterm elections, a record for the prominent business family. He has consistently donated large sums of money near the end of the election to Super Pacs and dark money groups.

The Republican donor began supporting Mr Trump in 2016 as he took on campaign promises in support of Israel, like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and visited the White House during the unveiling of the administration’s Middle East peace plan.

However, Mr Trump ran on the promise that he would fund his own campaign, saying in June 2015: “I don’t need anybody’s money.”

“I’m using my own money,” he said at the time. “I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using the donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”

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