Despite Coronavirus Crisis, Trump to Attend Republican Jewish Conference

Amid efforts to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, the White House has confirmed to the Republican Jewish Coalition that Trump will attend its conference at Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Venetian resort

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
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President Donald Trump stands on stage alongside Sheldon Adelson.
President Donald Trump stands on stage alongside Sheldon Adelson before delivering remarks at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida, Dec. 7, 2019. Credit: Loren Elliott/Reuters
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

WASHINGTON – Amid the Trump administration’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, President Donald Trump himself is still taking the time to fly to Las Vegas this weekend to speak at the annual gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition, according to a statement issued by the Jewish group.

Trump committed several weeks ago to attend the event and is scheduled to speak there on Saturday. The conference is generally held at a hotel owned by Jewish-American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of the most important donors to Republican politicians and to Trump’s campaign in particular. This year’s event is at Adelson’s Venetian/Palazzo hotel.

Trump spoke at last year’s RJC conference as well.

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Despite the Trump administration’s attention to the coronavirus, on Monday the RJC announced that the president had not changed his plans and that the organization has been in touch with the White House to ensure his safety. There have been at least two coronavirus cases in Las Vegas, including one involving a patient in critical condition, according to local media outlets.

The RJC said it plans to provide each participant at its event with hand sanitizer and the conference venue will be sprayed before it convenes. Matt Brooks, the organization’s executive director, confirmed in a tweet that Trump “is still coming to Vegas this weekend to address the conference.”

Other politicians slated to speak event include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley, the former American ambassador to the United Nations. Both are reportedly considering a run for president in 2024 and would seek Adelson’s support if they decide to take the step.

A Trump supporter at the 2019 Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas.Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/Media Punch/Alamy Live

Two political events in Washington last week made headlines after it was discovered that people who attended them have contracted the coronavirus. At the annual policy conference of the pro-Israeli AIPAC lobby, which was attended by 18,000 people, there were at least three people who are now confirmed to have the coronavirus.

At a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, at least one participant was been found to be infected with corona. Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who shook hands with the person, has placed himself in quarantine for two weeks. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at CPAC, but the White House said there was no indication that either had met or been in “close proximity” to the infected person.

Several members of Congress have entered self-quarantine in recent days after learning that they had been in contact with a confirmed patient. Two of the lawmakers had met  Trump over the weekend, before they entered quarantine. 

Rep. Doug Collins was photographed on Friday shaking hands with Trump. On Monday, Collins entered self-quarantine because he had spent time last week with a person who was diagnosed with coronavirus at CPAC. 

Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Matt Gaetz, said on Monday that he was entering self-quarantine after attending CPAC. Gaetz flew on board Air Force One with Trump on Monday for a presidential visit to Florida, his home state.

Upon landing at the Orlando airport, Trump shook hands – despite the threat of the coronavirus – with supporters of his presidential campaign.

Both members are said to be in good condition, and media reports say they are both asymptomatic.

President Trump is currently trying to convey a message of business as usual, in part in an effort to calm the U.S. stock markets. Trump blamed a fight for oil market share between Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as unspecified “fake news,” for a precipitous drop in American share prices on Monday, amid sliding demand for crude due to the coronavirus.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.