The Latest: Trump boasts of Israel support to Jewish group



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LAS VEGAS — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s appearance before the Republican Jewish Coalition (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Republicans are hoping to narrow the gap in 2020 with Jewish voters, who have traditionally backed Democrats by a large margin. President Donald Trump is leading the charge. He warned members of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday in Las Vegas that a Democratic victory in 2020 could “leave Israel out there.” Trump highlighted his pro-Israel actions at the group’s annual meeting in an effort to win support from Jewish voters.

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3:30 p.m.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says he wants the United States to enter into a mutual defense agreement with Israel to tell the world that “an attack against Israel would be considered an attack against the United States.”

Graham said at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas Saturday that it’s time for the U.S. to declare to the world how important its relationship is with Israel.

The Republican says America should tell Israel’s enemies that if they seek “to destroy the one and only Jewish state, you have to come through us to get them.”

Graham also suggested the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate would vote in a month or so to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights and force Democrats to go on the record on the issue.

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2:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is ridiculing some of the people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, claiming they look like mixed martial arts fighters yet are coached by lawyers to say they fear for their lives if forced to return home.

Trump says, “The asylum program is a scam. Some of the roughest people you’ve ever seen. People that look like they should be fighting for the UFC.”

He tells members of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas: “We don’t love the fact that he’s got tattoos on his face. That’s not a good sign. We don’t love the fact that he’s carrying the flag of Honduras or Guatemala or El Salvador, only to say he’s petrified to be in his country.”

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2 p.m.

Former Republican National Committee chairman and casino mogul Steve Wynn met with President Donald Trump at the Las Vegas airport following the president’s speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday.

Wynn last year resigned his roles at the RNC and the casino company he built after sexual misconduct allegations emerged against him.

Nevada gambling regulators in February fined his former company Wynn Resorts a record $20 million for failing to investigate the allegations before Wynn resigned.

Wynn has denied all allegations against him.

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12:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says it’s shaping up to be a “close” race in Tuesday’s election in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH’-hoo) is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office as Israel’s leader. And if he’s re-elected, he’d be his country’s longest serving prime minister.

But he’s facing major opposition from his former army chief of staff, Benny Gantz.

How does Trump see the election: “I think it’s going to be close. Two good people,” he tells the members of the Republican Jewish Coalition who are meeting in Las Vegas.

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12:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is hearing chants of “four more years” from members of the Republican Jewish Coalition after detailing his decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Trump is saying that “unlike other presidents, I keep my promises” and he calls the embassy move an example of a “historic action that had been decades in waiting.”

As he mentions the embassy decision, he’s calling out two members of the audience at his speech in Las Vegas — major GOP donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

Trump says he thinks “that is the most important thing I think that’s ever happened in their life. They love Israel.”

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12:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is thanking members of the Republican Jewish Coalition for backing him in 2016 and he says they have an important role to play in his re-election campaign in 2020.

Trump says in a speech at the group’s annual meeting in Las Vegas that he’s grateful to members for “your incredible support and your outstanding commitment to our country to our safety and to electing more Republicans.”

The president says “we need more Republicans. Let’s go, so we can win everything.”

Trump says that as 2020 election nears, “I know that the Republican Jewish Coalition will help lead our party to another historic victory.”

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12 p.m.

President Donald Trump has met privately with a major GOP donor, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, before speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas.

Adelson is chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. He and his wife, Miriam, received a standing ovation when they entered the ballroom where Trump was set to speak. Trump praised Adelson from the stage.

Adelson’s company revealed earlier this year that Adelson is receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Adelsons gave President Donald Trump’s campaign $30 million in 2016. They followed that by contributing $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 midterm elections.

In November, Trump recognized Miriam Adelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the nation reserves for a civilian. She’s a doctor and philanthropist.

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8:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is trying to make the case for Jewish voters to back his re-election as he takes a victory lap with Republican donors in Las Vegas.

Trump is appearing at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which supported his 2016 campaign and is preparing to spend millions on his 2020 effort.

Jewish voters in the U.S. have traditionally sided heavily with Democrats, but Republicans are hoping to narrow the gap next year, in part as Trump cites actions that he says show he’s more pro-Israel.

Trump’s speech comes weeks after he suggested Democrats “hate” Jews. His remark came as Democrats engaged in an internal fight over how to respond to comments by Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota congresswoman, that were criticized by some as anti-Semitic.


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