Donald Trump reportedly surprised megadonor Sheldon Adelson during what was expected to be a friendly call, confronting him for what the president saw as insufficient support and later leaving some GOP officials to try smoothing over the relationship.
As Politico reported, the two were schedule to speak by phone last week about the upcoming coronavirus relief bill and attempts to jump-start the economy. But the story claims that Trump quickly turned the conversation into a confrontation, asking why he wasn’t doing more to boost his re-election campaign.
Sources with knowledge of the call told Politico that it did not appear he knew the true level of the Las Vegas business mogul’s backing for him.
“One of the people said it was apparent the president had no idea how much Adelson, who’s donated tens of millions of dollars to pro-Trump efforts over the years, had helped him. Adelson chose not to come back at Trump,” the report noted.
The phone call sent ripples throughout the Republican Party, leading officials to reach out and try to smooth things over with the billionaire business mogul. The source claimed that Trump could now be at risk of losing out on the backing of a top donor at a time when Democrats have flexed some impressive fundraising muscles, with a “flood” of liberal super PACs dwarfing Republican spending with just three months to go until the election. Groups backing presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden have already reserved more than $70 million for television ads between now and Election Day, the report added.
Aside from the strained relationship Trump has caused with other top donors — as The Independent reported, fellow megadonor Robert Mercer has also backed off his support of the president — others are worried that there could be backlash for backing him. The Politico report noted that after fitness company executive Stephen Ross held a fundraiser in the Hamptons, some patrons of his Equinox and SoulCycle chains boycotted.
“With Trump trailing badly, some donors are more interested in bankrolling efforts to save the GOP’s Senate majority,” the report noted. “Among the contributors who’ve cut checks to the super PAC for Senate Republicans but not Trump’s are hedge fund manager Paul Singer, investor Charles Schwab, and real estate developer Mel Sembler.
“Others say there is simply exhaustion with Trump and disgust at his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.”
It was not clear yet if Trump had lost the support of Adelson, or if the efforts from top Republicans may have eased any lingering tensions after the contentious phone conversation.