Billionaire Sheldon Adelson declared Thursday evening that Donald Trump was likely to be “the best president for Israel ever,” an overwhelming endorsement delivered as a former Republican Vice President sat in the audience.
Adelson made the remarks at his home on the eve of the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership conference, which brings together hundreds of leading Republican donors. No contributor in GOP politics carries more weight though than Adelson, who gave over $80 million to conservative causes in the 2016 cycle.
The laudatory comments, described by multiple attendees of the private event, came as Dick Cheney, the powerful Vice President in George W. Bush’s administration, sat among the audience munching on salmon and brisket. Adelson did not say that Trump was guaranteed to be better than the 43rd president, only that he was poised to do so based on his early moves.
Despite sharing the stage with Republican National Committee finance chair Steve Wynn, little of the conversation centered on politics, attendees said. Most of the conversation between the two casino titans revolved around their business principles and how the pair built Las Vegas.
Trump has positioned himself as a fierce defender of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, is set to address the RJC on Friday evening.