Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s most prominent mega-donor, is publicly breaking with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon over his efforts to oust Republican incumbents in 2018.
“The Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts,” said Andy Abboud, an Adelson spokesman. “They are supporting Mitch McConnell 100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong.”
The public pronouncement comes about a month after Adelson met with Bannon in Washington.
Bannon has been huddling with major Republican contributors across the country in hopes of building a war chest to take on party lawmakers. Bannon aides said they were not surprised by the news, given that Adelson has a long track record of generously backing establishment causes. They said they never expected Adelson’s financial support.
The former White House chief strategist appeared before the Zionist Organization of America annual dinner on Sunday night. ZOA is funded by Adelson.
During the dinner, Bannon described himself as a “Christian Zionist” and lavished praise on the billionaire.
Bannon had been slated to introduce Adelson and his spouse, Miriam, at the event, according to a copy of the program. The Adelsons, however, did not make it to the event, one person close to the couple said — in part because Adelson was concerned that appearing publicly with Bannon would be seen as a tacit endorsement of his efforts.
At a time when Bannon is drawing headlines for his anti-incumbent push, several people close to Adelson said they had grown concerned about a perception that he was closely allied with the bombastic former White House aide.
Last month, as Bannon pushed back against charges from McConnell’s political team that he harbored anti-Semitic views, ZOA sent out a press release defending him.
“We are proud and fortunate to have Steve Bannon on our side fighting for Israel and against anti-Semitism,” the release said. “And we’re honored that he will be a speaker at ZOA’s 2017 Gala where he will be introducing Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, the greatest pro-Jewish Zionists on the face of the planet.”