Not long after taking office, President Donald Trump reportedly raised the issue of Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson’s bid to build a casino in Japan during a meeting with the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, according to a recent ProPublica report.
> Abe and his aides were "incredulous" that Trump "would be so brazen," according to a source briefed on the conversation. The project is a top priority for Adelson, who donated $25 million to Trump's campaign and inauguration, because Japan only recently legalized casinos and the market is considered a "holy grail" in the industry, Elliot notes. Adelson dined with Trump the night prior to the meeting.
According to the report, Adelson has met with Trump at least six times since inauguration day, on some occasions at the White House, and the pair speak regularly.
> "Adelson has already received a windfall from Trump’s new tax law, which particularly favored companies like Las Vegas Sands. The company estimated the benefit of the law at $1.2 billion."
> On Adelson's top issue, Israel, "Trump has delivered. The administration has slashed funding for aid to Palestinian refugees and scrapped the Iran nuclear deal. Attending the recent opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Adelson seemed to almost weep with joy, according to an attendee."
ProPublica reported that neither the White House nor the Japanese Embassy in Washington offered comment upon request, but Abe previously did not deny the report:
> Trump also mentioned at least one other casino operator. Accounts differ on whether it was MGM or Wynn Resorts, then run by Trump donor and then-Republican National Committee finance chairman Steve Wynn. The Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported the president also mentioned MGM and Abe instructed an aide who was present to jot down the names of both companies. Questioned about the meeting, Abe said in remarks before the Japanese legislature in July that Trump had not passed on requests from casino companies but did not deny that the topic had come up.