DEEP DIVE — Trump’s Patron-in-Chief: Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has never been more powerful — by Justin Elliott: "Late on a Thursday evening in February 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland for his first visit with President Donald Trump... Adelson dined that night at the White House with Trump, Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson... During a meeting at Mar-a-Lago that weekend, Trump raised Adelson’s casino bid to Abe, according to two people briefed on the meeting. The Japanese side was surprised... After Trump told Abe he should strongly consider Las Vegas Sands for a license, “Abe didn’t really respond, and said thank you for the information,” this person said."
“I would put Adelson at the very top of the list of both access and influence in the Trump administration,” said Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen. “I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I’ve been studying money in politics for 40 years.” Adelson has met with Trump or visited the White House at least six times since Trump’s election victory. The two speak regularly... “He just calls the president all the time. Donald Trump takes Sheldon Adelson’s calls,” said Alan Dershowitz." [ProPublica]
DRIVING THE DAY — Former Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell has emerged as the frontrunner to replace outgoing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, following Haley's sudden resignation. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he is considering five people for the job, including Powell. "Dina would love it," he said.
"In the days leading up to Haley's sudden and surprising resignation Tuesday, senior White House officials reached out to Powell about possibly taking the role." [CNBC] According to Axios, Powell was Haley's number one recommendation to succeed her. Haley spent this past weekend with Powell in South Carolina [Pic]
Annie Karni: "Dina Powell for years — pre-Trump — has told people U.N. Ambassador was a dream job, per person familiar with convos. As for charge that she's a "globalist," she's close with Cotton, Cruz and built other relationships while in DC working in administration."
Ivanka Trump yesterday laid to rest speculations that she is being discussed as a possible replacement. "I know that the President will nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador Haley. That replacement will not be me," Ivanka tweeted.
Trump to reporters outside the White House: "The people that know, know that Ivanka would be dynamite. But, you know, I'd then be accused of nepotism." [Video]
CNN's Jim Acosta on CNN with Wolf Blitzer: "I'm told by a source familiar with some of these discussions going on inside the White House that Ivanka Trump laughed when she was told of this speculation that she could potentially replace Nikki Haley."
Other possible replacements:
— Ambassador Ric Grenell: "Many conservatives seem to feel Grenell's combination of experience and loyalty to Trump make him a natural choice to replace Haley."[BusinessInsider]
— Brian Hook: “Despite being perceived as a Tillerson person, he’s managed to establish his bona fides as a person who advances the president’s agenda,” Jon Alterman, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells The Atlantic.
— Bob Corker: Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told CNN that Bob Corker, the retiring Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, "would do an awesome job."
— Heather Nauert: "Some suspect that Mr. Trump will want to replace Mrs. Haley with another woman, given how few women currently serve in his cabinet." [Telegraph]
Other names floated include: Rudy Giuliani... Alan Dershowitz... Jon Huntsman...
WHY IT MATTERS — Haley’s departure sparks a battle for the future of Trump’s foreign policy — by Josh Rogin: “Replacing Haley is the continuation of a struggle between Bolton and factions resistant to his brand of conservative foreign policy,” an administration official told me. “If Trump chooses someone more in the mold of Haley or Bolton himself, it’s a big win for Bolton. Someone like Dina Powell means other forces are reasserting their control of personnel for the next two years.” [WashPost]
Noah Rothman: “On both foreign affairs and matters of conscience, Haley was a tie that bound the principled conservative movement with an American president who campaigned in large part against that movement’s policy preferences.”
Eli Lake: "There were moments when Haley’s foreign policy was in tension with Trump’s... This tension reflects a wider rift within the Republican Party. Traditional conservatives embrace American exceptionalism and chafe at the UN vision of a community of nations, all deserving equal respect... Haley proved it’s possible to speak plainly about the bad guys and still gain their cooperation."
HEARD ON CNN — Susan Glasser: "Haley had made it very clear at the UN that the U.S. is willing to be much more aggressive than it had in the past in being an advocate for, and a partner of, Israel... I think she has used that platform in many ways to advance her own standing inside the very active Republican Jewish donor community."
NYTimes' Jeremy Peters on MSNBC's 11th Hour with Brian Williams: "Just to show how well she's got her bases covered: who else are you going to hear be praised by the New York Times editorial page and Rush Limbaugh in the span of 12 hours?"
Andrea Mitchell: "And Bibi Netanyahu too."
Williams: "That's a good three-way bank shot right there."
TIMING MATTERS — Dan Senor tweets: “For all those feverishly speculating about [the] reason for Haley’s move: if she had always planned to stay for 2 years, wouldn’t now be a better time to announce than after the mid-terms? If you’re an administration star, there’s never a good time to announce, but this is the better option… Plus, [the] confirmation process for her successor will go more smoothly the sooner they can commence the process."
Nikki Haley flips the script on Trump — by Eliana Johnson: "Two people familiar with her thinking said she did not want her departure to appear to be a response to Republican losses in the midterms, should they happen. Nor did she want her exit to seem to be propelled by the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller." [Politico; NewYorker]
— Nikki Haley has up to $1 million in debt as she steps down as U.N. ambassador[PostandCourier]
REACTION — David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), emails us... “Big, big loss. One of the most eloquent, fearless and steadfast supporters of Israel ever to hold the position of U.S. Ambassador to the UN. She challenged one ‘politically correct’ issue after another, and thankfully so, from UNRWA to the UN Human Rights Council. She will be sorely missed.”
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch: "Because of her respected reputation as forward-leaning and outspoken on human rights, and her extraordinary abilities as a communicator with a perfect tone in every speech, she will be irreplaceable as a defender of Israel’s right to equal treatment within the UN."
VIEW FROM JERUSALEM —Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Haley for "exposing hypocrisy at the UN."
Former advisor to seven consecutive Israeli Prime Ministers, Shalom Lipner tells us... “Israel has been spoiled by Nikki Haley at the UN -- previously, a source of never-ending grief for policymakers in Jerusalem. Her leadership on issues like UNRWA reform and Iran sanctions has won her rockstar status among the pro-Israel community, and her departure will undoubtedly cause anxiety in those same corridors. It's unclear whether her replacement will follow in her footsteps, but a number of the contenders for the post would almost surely do so.”
Dore Gold emails us... “Ambassador Haley’s exceptional standing today emanated from her restoration of American principles at the UN, which unfortunately had become a den of anti-Americanism and the main international mechanism for attacking Israel. Haley is not going away and it is likely that she will remain an important voice for the US in the years ahead. Until the appointment of her successor, others will fill her role — like John Bolton, who once was Ambassador to the UN."
Chemi Shalev: “Haley’s presence was even more critical for American Jews who held their nose at Trump’s personality and behavior but voted for him nonetheless, because of their enthusiasm for his Israel positions and aversion to his predecessor’s... He can’t be such a jerk, many Jews told themselves, if he appointed an ambassador to the UN who is Golda Meir, Deborah the Prophetess and Esther the Queen all rolled into one.”
VIEW FROM TEHRAN — Iran cheers Haley’s resignation from UN: "There is no new sheriff in town" [ToI]
ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Haley in her departure remarks in the Oval Office: "Jared [Kushner] is such a hidden genius that no one understands. I mean, to re-do the NAFTA deal the way he did. What I've done working with him on the Middle East Peace Plan — it is so unbelievably well done."
Aaron David Miller on whether Haley's exit affects the rollout of Trump's peace plan: "Haley's absence won't make much of a deal. Had she been up there when the 'ultimate deal' was announced — assuming the rollout is going to be a big deal — I think she would have played a role in helping to orchestrate it. But her successor, unless it's Ivanka, will have to color between the lines. Unless they get someone who's actually skilled and versed in Arab-Israeli stuff, I'm not sure that Haley's departure is going to make much of a difference to the 'ultimate deal' rollout."
Former Ambassador Dennis Ross told Jewish Insider via email that it won’t affect the rollout. "I doubt it will [be unveiled] before the Israeli election," he added.
SCENE YESTERDAY — Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz met with the Republican Jewish Coalition board in Washington, DC. [Pic]
For Some Americans, Jerusalem's Newest Pilgrimage Site Is The U.S. Embassy — by Daniel Estrin: "The new embassy has become a magnet for American visitors, many of them devout Christians who support what it stands for: an about-face in U.S. policy, recognizing Israel's sovereignty claims to the coveted city." [NPR]
Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss write... "Why Is Israel Scared of This Young American? Israel, like all countries, has a right to protect its borders and to determine who is allowed in and out. But Israel is also a state that prides itself on being a liberal democracy — a fact that goes far to explain the longstanding support for Israel among American Jews and non-Jews alike... If the Israeli government takes umbrage — and rightly so — when Israeli academics or institutions are boycotted by foreign universities, the least it could do is not replicate their illiberal behavior."
"Here’s a better way for Israel to confront its young detractors, including those who support B.D.S.: Invite them to visit. No restrictions; no minders; no lectures. Perhaps they’ll find their prejudices confirmed. But we suspect that more than a few of them — those capable of keeping an open mind and appreciating the complexity of life and politics in the region — might find their views changed." [NYTimes]
HAPPENING TODAY — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will receive the Henry M. Scoop Jackson Award at the JINSA annual awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. In recent years, the award was given to serving Senators and House members. Pompeo will be introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). Also, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will present the National Leadership Award to Fred Zeidman, a member of the JINSA Board of Directors.[Livestream]
MIDTERMS — 'Bernie' ad says Ted Cruz wouldn’t turn the other cheek to Trump, if he’s really 'Tough as Texas' — by Todd J. Gillman: "An anti-Ted Cruz group is poking fun at the senator's "Tough as Texas" slogan by pointing out how he cozied up to Donald Trump... "Sonny's character really captures what most Texans understand about Cruz: He's a spineless liar who puts his own ambition ahead of doing his job for the people of Texas," said Marc Stanley, a Dallas lawyer and Democratic donor who formed the PAC, which operates independently of Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke's campaign. The PAC has raised about $500,000 so far and will air this ad through social media, Stanley said." [DallasNews]
Michael Bloomberg registers as a Democrat: "At key points in U.S. history, one of the two parties has served as a bulwark against those who threaten our Constitution. Two years ago at the Democratic Convention, I warned of those threats. Today, I have re-registered as a Democrat – I had been a member for most of my life – because we need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs." [Instagram]
Dismayed by Trump, Hollywood celebrities take a starring role in political activism — by Claire Atkinson: "William Morris Endeavor, run by Ari Emanuel — the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago and a former chief of staff for President Barack Obama — launched its own in-house political branch just 20 days after Trump was elected... Amos Buhai, vice president of government relations at parent company Endeavor, said the PAC was not just for staff but for clients... Since then, the company has partnered with a host of organizations from UNICEF to Everytown for Gun Safety to match entertainment clients with causes..." [NBCNews]
** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Top tech industry execs — including Sam Altman and Dan Doctoroff — named to a Saudi advisory board amid controversy over reportedly murdered journalist [BI] Barry Diller’s IAC hits back at Tinder co-founder’s $2B suit [NYPost] William Ackman Reveals a Stake in Starbucks [WSJ] SoftBank is in discussions to take a majority stake in WeWork, an investment that could total between $15 billion and $20 billion [WSJ] In Roman Abramovich’s World, $47,000 Buys a Square Meter of Space [Bloomberg; Telegraph] Israeli frankincense farmer cashes in on rare honey [AP]
The Backstory of Hope Hicks’s Bolt to Fox —by Gabriel Sherman: "In August, Page Six reported that Hicks had lunch at Avra on the Upper East Side with media banker Aryeh Bourkoff, the C.E.O. of LionTree and a close friend of Jared Kushner’s... Around this time, Hicks began talks with Lachlan Murdoch, who is becoming chairman and C.E.O. of New Fox... Sources said Trump and Kushner put in calls to Rupert Murdoch to recommend Hicks. Two weeks ago, Hicks had offers from both Bourkoff and Fox, sources said. In the end, working for Fox across the country was the more attractive opportunity." [VanityFair]
AT VANITY FAIR'S NEW ESTABLISHMENT SUMMIT — Disney CEO Bob Iger: “Iger said he rises at 4:15 A.M.—and doesn’t rush to his phone. “I create a firewall with technology,” he said. “I like being alone with my own thoughts.” The media executive discussed the impact of early challenges on his life, including his father’s struggles with depression and difficulty holding a job. At age 23, Iger’s first boss told him he wasn’t “promotable,” he said; a bit of managerial misjudgment that seems laughable 44 years and billions of dollars in acquisitions later. When [Doris Kearns] Goodwin asked Iger about major deals he’s made at Disney, including his 2006 purchase of Pixar and his recent $71.3 billion acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox, Iger explained, “I like taking big risks.” [VanityFair]
Bob Iger is still not running for president — by Sandra Gonzalez: "I happen to be speaking with a presidential historian, but it's just a coincidence," [Iger] told the crowd. "I am not doing that. It's off the table. I am running the Walt Disney Co." ... His comments Tuesday were Iger's most forceful denial yet." [CNN]
IN LATEST TOWN & COUNTRY — Ralph Lauren Talks Family, Fashion, and His Global Empire's 50th Anniversary — by Paul Goldberger: "As his peers in New York retire or leave the main stage, Ralph Lauren looms large. He is the creative head of a multibillion-dollar business, designing new lines of clothing and overseeing design-oriented enterprises that range from retail stores to restaurants to home furnishings. Lauren is also paterfamilias of a unit that is part and parcel of his legacy." [Town&Country]
MAZAL TOV — Activist investor Bill Ackman is engaged to rockstar professor Neri Oxman: "Hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital and Israeli-born MIT Media Lab professor Neri Oxman are getting hitched. Ackman mentioned their engagement publicly for the first time at the Grant’s investor conference in New York City Tuesday."[FastCompany]
CAMPUS BEAT — A second Michigan instructor withheld a recommendation letter from student headed to Israel — by Isaac Stanley-Becker: "An instructor at the University of Michigan went back on her commitment last week to provide a letter of recommendation for a student after learning that the undergraduate’s destination for a study-abroad program was Israel — in a previously unreported incident that is the second such case on the Ann Arbor, Mich., campus in the past month." [WashPost] UM disciplines prof over Israel letter controversy[DetroitNews]
Elie Wiesel bust unveiled in Romania to mark Holocaust day: "A bust of Romania-born writer and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was unveiled Tuesday in Bucharest on the country’s national Holocaust remembrance day. The director of Romania’s National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust joined Bucharest’s mayor and the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors for the event, held in a small square named for Wiesel." [AP]
SCENE LAST NIGHT — The Orthodox Union's Teach NYS held its inaugural gala at Upstairs at the Pennsy in Midtown Manhattan. Honorees included Cal Nathan, Tamar and Ben Blumenthal, and Morris Tabush.
-- Spotted: Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz, Dan Rosenthal, Dan Quart and Stacey Pheffer Amato; State Senators Todd Kaminsky and Shelly Mayer; David Greenfield, Mark Bane, Allen Fagin, Rabbi Menachem Genack, Nathan Diament, Sam Sutton, Neil Cohen, Maury Litwack, Jake Adler, Jeff Leb, Chavie Kahn, David Lobl, Yitzchok Saftlas, and Jon Greenfield. [Pic]
BIRTHDAYS: Professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, he has argued 37 cases at the US Supreme Court and prevailed in 24 of those cases, Laurence Tribe turns 77... Long-time chairman and CEO of KB Home, a nationwide home builder known until 2001 as Kaufman & Broad, Bruce Karatz turrns 73... Yedidya Atlas turns 65... Award-winning writer and photographer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Diane Joy Schmidt turns 65... Vocalist and songwriter and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, David Lee Roth turns 64... Co-chairman and chief investment officer of Oaktree Capital Management, Bruce Karsh turns 63... Former NASA astronaut who flew on five Space Shuttle missions, he has held many positions at NASA including Chief Scientist, John M. Grunsfeld turns 60...
Israeli comedian and actor, twice voted as the funniest Israeli, Asi Cohen turns 44... Former reporter in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press (2006-2011), who later wrote about the bias against Israel at the AP and the international media, author of two acclaimed books, Matti Friedman turns 41... Director of external affairs at the Edison Electric Institute, Seth Leveyturns 32 (h/t Playbook)... Former president of Common Cause and now a senior fellow at Experience Corps and Civic Ventures, David Cohen...