Casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson donated $5 million to President Donald Trump's inaugural festivities, as corporate interests and lobbyists lifted the inaugural committee's fundraising to record levels.
In all, more than 45 individuals and companies donated at least $1 million each to the effort, as Trump broke with practice of most recent inaugural committees and placed no limits on corporate or individual donors. Major donors included Robert Mercer, the hedge fund manager who has been one of Trump's biggest donors, Dow Chemical, and Phillip Ruffin, a longtime Trump friend and business partner. Several owners of National Football League teams gave $1 million, including Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Los Angeles Rams owner Stanley Kroenke, and a Trump friend who owns the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, who are visiting the White House Wednesday.
Trump's inaugural committee, which raised money to fund a concert and other celebrations surrounding his inauguration in January, announced Tuesday that it has raised $107 million, doubling a previous record set by President Barack Obama in 2009. A 510-page filing with the Federal Election Committee made public Wednesday provided details of donations, though it provided no information about how the committee spent its money, including how much money remained after the festivities. The committee has said it would donate leftover funds to charities but has not yet identified which charities will receive money or how much.
But the new filing provides a window into the flood of support from wealthy individuals and major corporations that helped support the event, despite Trump's campaign promises to "drain the swamp" and limit the role of money in Washington. Presidential inaugural committees have traditionally been a way for major donors to express their support for a new administration — and for donors who backed a president's rivals during the campaign to make amends. The filing showed that more than 1,500 people and companies gave money to the effort.
Adelson is one of the most prolific donors in Republican politics. He endorsed Trump in May, and he and his wife, Miriam, contributed a total of more than $21.2 million to Trump's campaign effort, including contributions to Trump's campaign, Republican committees and a pro-Trump super PAC, according to federal finance disclosures. Trump has lavished praised and personal attention on the casino owner ever since. He met with Adelson at Trump Tower in New York before taking office and then seated the couple in prime seats on the dais when he took the oath. The Adelsons also joined Trump at a lunch with congressional leaders at the U.S. Capitol and dined at the White House in February.
Adelson is a major supporter of Israeli causes and has pushed for the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a Trump campaign promise that remains unfulfilled. When Sean Spicer incorrectly recounted the history of the Holocaust at a White House briefing last week, he called Adelson personally to apologize.