An award meant to be the nation’s “highest civilian honor” will be given to Miriam Adelson, the wife of Las Vegas casino mogul and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, the White House announced on Saturday.
Miriam Adelson is among seven people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony on Friday. A White House statement said she is “a committed doctor, philanthropist, and humanitarian.”
“As a committed member of the American Jewish community, she has supported Jewish schools, Holocaust memorial organizations, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and Birthright Israel, among other causes,” the statement said.
Of course, there might be additional reasons for that decision. As Politico notes, the Adelsons have given more than $113 million to Republican Party efforts in the 2018 election cycle. That includes $25 million in July to the Senate Leadership Fund, which worked to maintain GOP control of the Senate. This was almost the entirety of the $26 million the Republican PAC raised that month, according to CNBC.
From May to September, the couple gave about $40 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aimed at keeping Republicans in control of the House. Other contributions included $10 million to the super PAC America First Action, which supports President Donald Trump’s agenda, $1 million to a fund that challenged Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Senate bid in Texas, and $3 million to the Republican Governors Association, according to Politico, citing Federal Election Commission filings.
According to CNBC, Las Vegas Sands, of which Sheldon Adelson is chairman and CEO, reported an income tax benefit of $670 million in April, thanks to last year’s Republican-led tax overhaul for the uber-wealthy.
Trump appears to like doing favors for the Adelsons. Last month, Splinter noted that the president had personally gone to bat in 2017 for a multi-billion-dollar casino development Adelson was pushing in Japan. During a visit last year to Mar-a-Lago by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Trump reportedly urged Abe to “strongly consider” granting Las Vegas Sands a license for the casino project.
Japanese officials reportedly were shocked at Trump’s brazenness in promoting the deal, according to ProPublica, which broke the aptly titled story “Trump’s Patron-in-Chief.”
Sheldon Adelson also was among the “dozens of friends, businessmen and donors” who accompanied Trump at the White House residence to watch last Tuesday’s midterm election results, Politico reported. “Tremendous success tonight,” Trump tweeted afterward.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to “individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” the White House notes on its website.
Other 2018 recipients include GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Hall-of-Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, baseball legend Babe Ruth, and Elvis Presley.