Kin Cheung / AP

Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson has privately told one of his allies that he supports a campaign that depicts H.R. McMaster as anti-Israel and seeks to remove him from his post as national security adviser.

In an email to Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, Adelson writes: "Now that I have talked to somebody with personal experience with McMaster, I support your efforts."

Why this matters: Adelson is arguably the most influential donor in Republican politics, spending tens of millions of dollars each election season. He also funds the ZOA, which has been relentlessly attacking McMaster and leading an outside campaign to remove him from his post.

Adelson's spokesman Andy Abboud told Axios recently that Adelson had nothing to do with ZOA's campaign against McMaster and was "perfectly comfortable" with the job McMaster was doing.

Abboud was correct about Adelson being unaware of the campaign, though Adelson makes clear in his email to Klein that he was never "comfortable" with McMaster because he knew nothing about him.

What changed: Adelson tells Klein he spoke with Safra Catz, the Israeli-born CEO of Oracle. Adelson says Catz told him about a dinner she had recently with McMaster and "it certainly enlightened me quite a bit."

But Adelson also makes clear in his email that he doesn't want to be publicly associated with the campaign against McMaster. (Klein never claimed Adelson was supporting it, and while he accepts funding from Adelson he is known as an independent Israel hawk who cannot be corralled, even by his major donor.)

The pushback: A White House source points out that the Israel team at the White House, including noted right winger Ambassador Friedman, "feel McMaster is remarkably pro-Israel and he just had a meeting with senior Israeli officials where he won plaudits from them for understanding their unique security needs."

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. EST: 32,135,220 — Total deaths: 981,660 — Total recoveries: 22,149,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  8. Science: Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China — During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
8 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
9 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!