In Reversal, Trump Raises From Jewish Donors
Donald Trump reached a milestone in the race for president on Thursday. Over a month after teasing Jewish donors at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Forum that he is not willing to accept their contributions so he would not need to return the favor should he win the White House, Trump raised money for a cause that could boost his candidacy mostly with the help of some wealthy Jewish donors.
Trump – after announcing he will boycott the Republican TV debate hosted by Fox News – gathered his supporters for an alternative event at Drake University in which he promised to raise money for wounded veterans and warriors. A few miles away from the debate hall in Des Moines, Iowa, the Republican presidential front-runner gleefully announced he had raised $5 million, adding $1 million of his own. At the same time, many Jewish donors were seated in armchairs at their lounges or in the debate hall watching the candidates of their choice and hoping for a breakout moment.
“Carl Icahn gave $500,000 in one quick phone call,” Trump announced to cheers. “Richard LeFrak, a great builder in New York, gave $100,000. The Fisher family of New York gave $75,000. Howard Lorber, a great fan and friend of our family, [gave] $100,000. Another unbelievable man, Ike Perlmutter from Marvel, he did such an unbelievable job, one of the great, great men of our country [originally from Israel] in terms of business and talent, and he’s giving, Ike and Laurie Perlmutter, $1 million.”
Just a month ago, Trump told wealthy Republican Jewish donors at the RJC forum that they probably won’t support him for president because he would not accept the money they might offer as a way of currying favor should he win the White House. “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. If I wanted your money, I think I’d have a damned good chance. You know the money I have turned down?” Trump said at the December 3 event in Washington, DC.
But in the final days leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, Trump reversed his outspoken commitment, proving that he too was willing to accept money from New York Jews if that advances his cause. While these weren’t direct campaign contributions, the money raised, and the way they were promoted could propel him into winning the Republican nomination for president in 2016.