Miriam Adelson was awarded Medal of Freedom after donating $500k to Trump aides’ legal expenses

The Adelsons were the largest donors to Trump's campaign other than Trump.
In the last three months of last year, 2018, GOP megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave $500,000 to a capital set up to pay legal fees incurred by aides to President Donald Trump; The Washington Post published Thursday night.

Contributions to the fund are explicitly allocated to pay expenses for aides covered up in the investigation into whether Russia conspired with the Trump campaign. The Adelsons donated $250,000 apiece on October the 1. Just a little over 1 month later, Trump granted Miriam Adelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Before getting the medal, the Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s presidential drive in the final months of the 2016 run, and last year, donated $100 million to several Republican candidates and GOP-aligned PACs in the midterm elections. In fact, as Open Secrets recorded last fall, other than Trump himself, the Adelsons were the biggest donors to the Trump campaign. They additionally donated $5 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.

Screenshot of donation disclosure via Michelle Ye Hee Lee


Their sizable financial ventures have yielded significant returns. Sheldon Adelson is popularly believed to have been one of the most significant influences in Trump’s choice to move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. At the medal ceremony in November, Trump called Adelson a “committed doctor, philanthropist, and humanitarian,” but many saw the award as merely a thank you gift.

“It’s ludicrous, and an insult to people who received the medal for genuine service,” The New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote on Twitter.

“It’s emblematic of the corrupt and transactional presidency of Donald Trump, and it is a shame, but not a surprise, that he is corroding and corrupting a civic treasure, an honor like the Medal of Freedom,” Robert Weissman, president of public interest group Public Citizen, told The Guardian.

Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, further told the paper last fall that Trump went through the same process as all preceding administrations when deciding Medal of Freedom Award recipients. The process was coordinated by the office of the staff secretary, taking into account recommendations from the public, relevant presidential advisory bodies, the cabinet and senior White House staff, she said.


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