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Sheldon Adelson was a giant loser in midterms — and Trump is letting him know it

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A lot of people are scratching their heads over Trump’s recent moves distancing himself from Israel. He announced that he was pulling troops from Syria, thereby nettling Israel’s friends who counted on him to take on Iran in Syria. Iran, Iran, Iran, say Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham, and Bret Stephens. Trump overrode John Bolton, his neoconservative national security adviser, in announcing the withdrawal. Jonathan Tobin writes that Trump just gave the finger to his Jewish voters.

Then Trump held a briefing in Iraq the night after Christmas and complained about all the money we give Israel, exaggerating the sum to $4.5 billion a year.

I think there’s a simple explanation for Trump’s shift. He was counting on his biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, to deliver the House to him in the midterm elections; and Adelson failed, bigtime. Donald Trump is sore about that.

Remember that in the runup to the election last spring, the transactional president did his part: He tore up the Iran deal and moved the embassy to Jerusalem and installed Adelson’s friend John Bolton as national security adviser– after declining to do all these actions in his first year in office, he saved them for the election year.

What did Trump get for those moves? Bupkus. Yes Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam gave upwards of $87 million to the Republican congressional effort, including some $50 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund. More than half that money came in last May, just as the embassy was opened. All to save the House.

And what was the result? The Democrats picked up 40 seats in the House in what the media are calling a “blue tsunami.” Democrats had a huge advantage in raw votes over Republicans. 61 million to 51 million votes, Democrats to Republicans in Congress. Many Dems are even talking about impeachment!

Adelson’s ineffectiveness might be judged by his own state. The 85-year-old casino mogul and his wife gave some $20,000 specifically to a fundraising committee supporting Cresent Hardy, an incumbent Republican congressman in Nevada. Democrat Steve Horsford walloped Cresent Hardy 52 to 44 percent! In fact, three of four congresspeople from Nevada are Democrat.

The Democrats’ sole win by a challenger over a Republican incumbent in the Senate was also Nevada: Jacky Rosen knocked off Republican Senator Dean Heller.

You don’t think Trump noticed all this? Of course he did. Donald Trump is a shrewd man, and he has surely concluded what any gamer would, that Sheldon Adelson’s millions didn’t have the impact in 2018 that they did in 2016, when they helped deliver the White House. Hey, maybe Adelson should have given more for the embassy! He can afford it!

Trump once said that if Marco Rubio got Adelson’s money he would be Sheldon Adelson’s perfect little puppet. Then Trump got Adelson’s money, and he was Adelson’s perfect little puppet for a whole year.

Well things change, and millions don’t mean what they used to. And Trump is surely registering his displeasure.

Of course, come 2020, it’s a whole new ballgame. But right now Trump is clearing the books.

P.S. Adelson’s Birthright millions are also hemmorhaging– young Jews are starting to see the free trip to Israel as toxic.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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10 Responses

  1. Citizen on December 28, 2018, 1:53 pm

    Disgusting man, Mr. Adelson. How’s his business in China doing?

    • Misterioso on December 29, 2018, 8:51 am

      For the record:
      If Americans Knew Blog, Sept. 23/18

      “Sheldon Adelson spending $100 million to keep control of U.S. policies on Israel”

      “Casino billionaire’s total contributions on behalf of Israel in 2016 & 2018 reported to surpass $100 million, possibly making him the largest single donor in American politics today”

      By Amir Tibon, reposted from Ha’aretz

      WASHINGTON – “Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is reportedly spending at least $55 million during the upcoming midterm elections in order to keep Republicans in control of Congress. Adelson’s spending commitment was first reported on Saturday by the New York Times, in an article describing how Adelson has become the most influential donor in the Republican Party during U.S. President Donald Trump’s time in office.

      “According to the report, Adelson’s total spending on behalf of the Republicans in the 2016 and 2018 election combined, will surpass $100 million, probably making him the largest single donor in American politics today. Adelson had previously spent tens of millions of dollars during the 2012 election in a failed attempt to help Mitt Romney, that year’s Republican nominee, oust Barack Obama from the White House.”
      Sheldon Adelson: “Best Government Money Can Buy” By Philip M. Giraldi
      October 6/18
      Sheldon Adelson: “Best Government Money Can Buy” By Philip M. Giraldi
      October 6/18

      “Very few Americans know who Sheldon Adelson is and fewer still appreciate that, as America’s leading political donor, when he speaks the Republican Party listens. By virtue of his largesse, he has been able to direct GOP policy in the Middle East in favor of Israel, which might well be regarded as his true home while the United States exists more as a faithful friend that can be produced at intervals whenever Israel finds itself in need of a bit of cash or political cover.

      “Adelson’s recent successes in translating his political donations into policy favorable to Israel have included shifting the US Embassy to Jerusalem, cutting aid to Palestinians, ending the Iranian nuclear monitoring agreement and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s diplomatic office in Washington. All those Trump Administration measures were reportedly worked out privately by Adelson speaking directly with the president.

      “Adelson’s activities in buying politicians reflect what he believes, he reportedly having said that ‘there’s no such thing as a Palestinian.’ Nor does his world view include much concern for the country that has sheltered him and made him wealthy. He served in the US Army in World War 2 and has said that he regrets having done so, as he would rather have worn an Israeli army uniform. He also expressed his desire that his son might become an Israeli Army sniper.

      “Adelson benefits from his exceptional access to the White House to the detriment of actual American interests. A New York Times article ‘Sheldon Adelson Sees a Lot to Like in Trump’s Washington,’ states that he ‘enjoys a direct line to the president’ and meets the president monthly ‘in private in-person meetings and phone conversations.’ He has been delighted with the openly expressed threats emanating from the Administration’s key foreign and national security policy spokesmen regarding Iran. He would like to see the United States go to war with the Iranians to destroy their government and bring about some kind of regime change, and, judging from recent developments, he just might get what he seeks, which could easily have catastrophic consequences for the entire region and beyond.

      “Adelson is somewhat unhinged on the issue of Iran and has even called for dropping a nuclear bomb on a desert region of the country as a negotiating tactic to show ‘we mean business’ so Washington could then ‘impose its demands [on Iran] from a position of strength.’ If Iran continued to resist, Adelson would to drop the next one on Tehran. If Tehran were to be nuked millions of Iranians would die, which doesn’t bother Adelson one bit. Such a development would, in Adelson’s opinion, be good for Israel, which is his primary concern.”

    • JLewisDickerson on December 29, 2018, 2:58 pm

      RE: “Disgusting man, Mr. Adelson. How’s his business in China doing?” ~ Citizen

      MY REPLY: It’s going like gangbusters!

      “Las Vegas Sands settles with former CEO of Macau casino unit”
      by Farah Master | May 31, 2016

      HONG KONG (Reuters) – Sands China Ltd, the Macau casino company controlled by U.S. billionaire and prominent Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, said its parent Las Vegas Sands Corp has settled a lawsuit filed by a former chief executive, bringing an end to a near six-year legal battle.

      Steve Jacobs, who led Sands’ Macau operations from 2009 to 2010, had sued Las Vegas Sands in 2010 for breach of contract and wrongful termination, claiming he was fired in retaliation for complaining about its activities in the world’s biggest gambling hub.

      In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday, Sands China, Macau’s largest casino operator by market value, said a comprehensive and confidential settlement had been reached in which Jacobs dropped all claims.

      The Wall Street Journal reported Las Vegas Sands was to pay over $75 million to settle the suit, citing a person familiar with the matter. Ron Reese, a Sands’ spokesman in Las Vegas, said he would not confirm the amount, nor provide settlement details. . .


      • JLewisDickerson on December 29, 2018, 4:05 pm

        P.S. ■ “Las Vegas Sands pays $7 mln to end U.S. criminal bribery case” | by Jonathan Stempel | Jan. 19, 2017

        (Reuters) – Las Vegas Sands Corp agreed to pay a $6.96 million criminal penalty to end a U.S. Department of Justice probe into whether it violated a federal anti-bribery law by making payments to a consultant to help it do business in China and Macau.

        The casino operator run by billionaire Sheldon Adelson on Thursday also entered a non-prosecution agreement, in which it admitted that executives knowingly failed to set up accounting controls to ensure that the payments were legitimate, and were properly recorded in its books and records.

        From 2006 to 2009, Las Vegas Sands transferred about $60 million to the consultant to promote its business and brands, and paid him about $5.8 million without any “discernable legitimate business purpose,” according to settlement papers.

        The resolution of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case follows Las Vegas Sands’ related $9 million civil settlement last year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its dealings with the consultant.

        Investigators said the consultant was used in part to conceal the company’s effort to buy a team in the Chinese Basketball Association, which barred gaming companies from ownership, and part of a Beijing building despite a casino gambling ban there. . .

        CONTINUED AT –

  2. JWalters on December 28, 2018, 5:04 pm

    A speculation – Trump may also be aware of the increasing amount of truth about Israel that is accumulating on the internet outside the controlled mainstream media. For example, here’s an Evangelical Christian (!) who researches history, including the Bible, and who thoroughly debunks the Zionist claim to the land of Palestine.
    “Jerusalem Hoax – Jake Morphonios”

    At some point Israel’s bubble of lies is going to burst. I’m looking forward to the expression on Nancy Pelosi’s face when she says, “I’m shocked! shocked! to find Israel is ethnically cleansing Palestine!”

  3. Kay24 on December 28, 2018, 7:30 pm

    Adelson was a big loser indeed at the last mid term elections. All those millions of dollars wasted trying to get votes for Israel. The damage has been done and perhaps it may be too late for the Palestinians where Jerusalem is concerned. Trump delivered what Adelson paid for the last presidential elections.

  4. brent on December 28, 2018, 9:13 pm

    “He tore up the Iran deal and moved the embassy to Jerusalem.”

    My take is a little different on those moves. Trump knows a deal (one state or two, with both, agreeing), in his first term, he would accomplish what no other modern President has… and make him the greatest of them all. Putting Netanyahu in a position he cannot say “No” to him was a necessity for any plan, that both agreed to, to prevail.

    Erekat and Abbas failed to understand they needed an American President to ever achieve Palestine, so they spit in his face out of anger and lack of political savvy. That put Trump in the position of having to keep kissing up to prevent being characterized as untrustworthy when the moment of truth came…..aka Obama.

    Trump has been candid about his questioning if Netanyahu was open to peace. Now he’s emphasizing the billions and talking about not being a sucker anymore. Where else has America been such a sucker?

    Unless Erekat and Abbas figure out what’s unfolding with Trump and endeavor to change the established narrative by reinforcing that peaceful coexistence is the end game, through one state or two, peace activist will continue to be only marginally effective at persuading their political leaders and we’ll be another generation who died trying.

    • JLewisDickerson on December 29, 2018, 2:36 pm

      RE: Trump knows a deal (one state or two, with both, agreeing), in his first term, he would accomplish what no other modern President has… and make him the greatest of them all. Putting Netanyahu in a position he cannot say “No” to him was a necessity for any plan, that both agreed to, to prevail. ~ brent

      JOEL KOVEL (Jan. 20, 2013):

      [EXCERPT] . . . As with everyone I know of in official political culture, [Thomas] Friedman assumes that Israel is a rational actor on the international stage who will obey the calculus of reward and punishment that regulates the conduct of normal states.

      The presumption is that if you tell it the truth, and even pull back US support, it will get the message, reflect, and change its ways. But Israel is not a normal state, except superficially. It will make adjustments, pulling back here, co-operating there, making nice when necessary, crafting its message using a powerful propaganda apparatus employing the most up-to-date social science. But this is simply tactical and no more predicts or explains the behavior of the Zionist state than an individual sociopath can be explained by the fact that he obeys traffic signals while driving to the scene of his crime. . .

      SOURCE –

  5. Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 29, 2018, 1:46 pm

    “He tore up the Iran deal and moved the embassy to Jerusalem”

    But couldn’t you argue that Trump had reasons of his own for both of the above?

    The Iran deal was Obama’s baby, and Trump has always been determined to destroy Obama’s legacy. Sure, Israel was a factor in his decision to withdraw from the Iran deal, as were his buddies in some of the Gulf states, but the whole ‘America does things its way and doesn’t care about international agreements’ thing would definitely appeal to his base.

    As for the embassy, yes, this was done to please Israel, but its really no loss to the US – again, this whole ‘we don’t care what anyone else thinks’ thing would play well with Trump voters. And not only is it no loss to the US, you could also argue that it’s no real gain to Israel. It has symbolic value yes, but now that it’s done, it’s one less bargaining chip for the US/Israel.

    But if Phil’s theory is correct, surelhy the real lesson is that “Israel” in and of itself is not important in US politics. Israel’s ability to influence politics through wealthy donors is. Trump doesn’t give a toss for Israel. None of them do. Though I’m not sure if Israeli narcissism allows them to see that.

  6. James Canning on December 30, 2018, 12:29 pm

    I suspect Sheldon Adelson wanted the US involved in yet another endless war, this time in Syria, to “benefit” Israel.

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