Trump Heads to Vegas for Adelson’s Jewish Republicans Gathering. Will Adelson Attend?

The megadonor, diagnosed with cancer, hasn’t been seen in public for months, with his plane parked at an airport in Switzerland

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Sheldon Adelson visiting Ariel University in the West Bank.
Sheldon Adelson visiting Ariel University in the West Bank. Credit: \ Ilan Assayag
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump will visit Las Vegas this weekend to speak before the Republican Jewish Coalition, the leading Jewish group affiliated with the Republican Party. The event will take place at the Venetian Hotel, owned by the group’s most prominent donor, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, but it remains to be seen if the billionaire, who has cancer, will attend.

A month ago, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced that Adelson — its founder, chairman and CEO — had to curtail his work schedule to receive treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The 85-year-old Adelson has not been seen in public since December and his condition has been described as dire. From January to mid-March, his private plane was parked in Basel, Switzerland, though it’s unclear if Adelson was in that country during this time.

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His company’s spokesman and the Republican Jewish Coalition did not respond to a question from Haaretz on whether Adelson would attend the event this weekend.

A month ago the Las Vegas Sands Corp. told The Associated Press that Adelson had cancer.

“Mr. Adelson is still dealing with certain side effects from medication he is taking for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” company spokesman Ron Reese said in an emailed statement. “These side effects have restricted his availability to travel or keep regular office hours.”

The effects haven’t prevented Adelson from fulfilling his duties as chairman and CEO, Reese said on February 28, adding that the company expected him to return after he completed treatment.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves after he addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center December 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.Credit: AFP

This weekend, Trump won’t be the only senior Republican politician to speak at the gathering. Other confirmed speakers include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, senators Lindsey Graham and Jim Risch, and House members such as Liz Cheney and Dan Crenshaw. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, will also speak at the meeting. Over the years, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s conference has been a key stage for Republican politicians, especially when a presidential election is looming.

Adelson was one of the most influential donors to Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, when he supported Trump and the Republicans with tens of millions of dollars. In 2018 as well he donated tens of millions to Republican campaigns and political committees, in a failed attempt to help the party preserve its majority in the House. Adelson is also very close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tickets for the Vegas gathering are being sold online at $1,500 each. Past gatherings of the Republican Jewish Coalition have featured Vice President Mike Pence, the administration’s top emissary for Jewish and pro-Israeli groups. For Trump, the visit this weekend is part of a broader trip to Nevada, an important swing state that he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and that elected Democrats for statewide positions in the midterms last year.

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