'Window-shopping' GOP elites weigh Trump -- and the alternatives -- at high-profile Vegas gathering
CNN —Former President Donald Trump addressed the influential Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday, days after becoming the first declared GOP candidate of the 2024 presidential campaign.
But the chandeliered ballroom at the opulent Venetian resort hotel in Las Vegas teemed with his rivals – including potential chief nemesis Florida Gov.
Ron DeSantis – as some of the party’s most influential donors weigh alternatives to the divisive former president.
Trump still retains a “following” within the party, Mel Sembler, a Florida real-estate developer and GOP donor who sits on the coalition’s board, told CNN last week.
Rather than seeing the party unify behind his third presidential bid, Trump faced immediate blowback.
Among those playing the field is Miriam Adelson, the billionaire widow of Las Vegas casino magnate and RJC benefactor Sheldon Adelson.
Trump in 2018 bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – on Miriam Adelson, citing her philanthropy.
Despite that relationship, Adelson intends to remain neutral in the GOP presidential primaries, an aide confirmed to CNN last week.
Trump has recently stepped up his attacks on DeSantis, and another potential 2024 challenger, Virginia Gov.
A Republican fundraiser in Florida with knowledge of DeSantis’ political operation said, “Of course, he’s talking to those people.
“The smartest thing DeSantis could do is stay out of the fray for as long as possible,” said the Republican consultant.
Larry Hogan took a hard stance against the former president Friday night, saying in Las Vegas that the Republican Party was “desperately in need of a course correction.”“Trump was saying that we’d be winning so much we get tired of winning.