Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a show during his campaign of saying he doesn’t need the help of wealthy donors. But new reports indicate that the billionaire real estate developer and his campaign may have reached out to some of the most well-known conservative mega-donors, including Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer and the Koch brothers.
Over the past couple of days, four sources with knowledge of the Trump campaign have described the campaign’s supposed efforts to gain the support of such conservative backers, The New York Times and Politico reported on Nov. 4.
Among those is an unnamed source that said Trump contacted casino developer and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson many weeks ago to talk about the state of the presidential race, according to The New York Times.
The Times described the source as “a person told of the discussion, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to characterize the conversation publicly.”
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According to this source, Adelson has since described the conversation as an attempt by Trump to secure his support.
A spokesman for Adelson did not respond to a request for comment from The Times, and Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told the paper that he could neither confirm nor deny private conversations Trump might have had.
A source who spoke with Politico, and who was described as close to Adelson, said the conversation between Trump and Adelson was a “very clear ask for money.”
Given that Trump was telling the country he didn’t need money for his campaign, it was an “odd ask,” the source added.
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Last month when Adelson threw his support behind Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Trump responded, according to Politico, by firing off a tweet that read: “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”
And that isn’t the first time Trump has thrown the “puppet” epithet around.
Trump reportedly reached out to the Koch brothers early in his campaign, even going so far as to detail his policy positions for the mega-donors. When he wasn't invited to the Koch brothers' donor gathering in August, however, he once again took to Twitter.
“I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?” he tweeted at the time.
Trump also allegedly sought support from New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer and reached out to him before he announced his run for presidency. This information was reported to Politico by a source familiar with the interaction. Singer, however, also chose to support Rubio instead.
Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Politico, nor did representatives of Singer or Charles and David Koch.