Recent reports have suggested that Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump may be planning a trip to Israel ahead of the party’s convention this summer, but the candidate has been sending mixed signals. The idea of the trip is backed by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who recently pledged to contribute $100 million to support Trump’s campaign.
Several sources close to both Adelson and Trump have mentioned an Israel visit in the works. According to conservative sources with strong ties to Adelson, the casino mogul has promoted the idea to Trump, and planning has begun. One donor noted, “I’m sure Sheldon suggested the trip.”
Mort Klein, who runs the Zionist Organization of America, told the paper he heard from Trump real estate lawyer and Israel advisor Jason Greenblatt that Trump was “going to go [to Israel] before the [GOP] convention” which begins on July 18th.
However, Trump appeared to backtrack on the plans to visit the Jewish state when he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview, published on Monday, that such a trip would not be a good idea “at this moment.”
“I don’t think it registers with the voters to be honest with you,” said Trump. “What I really want to do is focus on our country and the election, but I might. I’ve been invited by numerous countries to go.”
This is not the first time Trump has called off a visit to the Holy Land. He had a trip booked for December, but cancelled it following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration. However, the Republican candidate has indicated several times that he intends to travel to Israel shortly after the general election in November, assuming he wins.
Sources say Adelson and some members of the conservative, pro-Israel Republican Jewish Coalition are helping arrange a trip which would parallel one taken by Mitt Romney in 2012, during which he met with Netanyahu. While Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks said in a statement, “There are no plans for a visit at this time,” she refused to comment on whether discussions on the topic had taken place.
Earlier this month, Trump himself told Adelson-owned paper Israel Hayom that he “will be [coming to Israel] soon”.