Before he died, Sheldon Adelson and his wife spent more than $75 million to support Trump's failed 2020 campaign.
Donald Trump released a statement memorializing Sheldon Adelson on Tuesday, just hours after the billionaire casino mogul and GOP megadonor's death was announced. But Trump waited days to honor Brian Sicknick, the police officer killed in last week's pro-Trump attacks on the U.S. Capitol.
Trump praised Adelson, who owned the only major non-union gambling casinos on the Las Vegas strip, as a "great man."
"Sheldon lived the true American dream. His ingenuity, genius, and creativity earned him immense wealth, but his character and philanthropic generosity his great name," Trump wrote. "Sheldon was true to his family, his country, and all those that knew him."
Much of that generosity benefited Trump directly. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated more than $90 million last year to a super PAC in support of his unsuccessful reelection campaign. His newspaper — the Las Vegas Review-Journal — was also one of the only major outlets to endorse Trump in both his 2016 and 2020 campaigns.
But while Trump rushed to paid tribute to his billionaire backer just hours after the announcement of his death, he showed no such urgency after Sicknick's death last week.
The U.S. Capitol Police announced Thursday evening that Officer Brian D. Sicknick had died from "injuries sustained while on-duty" after responding to Wednesday's riots. The statement noted that Sicknick "was injured while physically engaging with protesters" who were attempting to mount a coup and overturn President-elect Joe Biden's election.
In a terse proclamation, he belatedly ordered flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Sicknick, Capitol police officer Howard Liebengood (who died Saturday after being on duty during Wednesday's riots), and "all Capitol Police Officers and law enforcement across this great Nation." Even this came only after heavy criticism and similar announcements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
This is not the first time Trump has prioritized his wealthy friends over ordinary Americans.
In April, Trump paid tribute to his pal Stanley Chera after he died from complications of COVID-19, but frequently played down the pandemic's death toll on the rest of the nation and showed little empathy for hundreds of thousands of poorer American victims. His own former campaign manager Brad Parscale told Fox News last month that it cost him reelection, saying, "I think if he had been publicly empathetic, he would have won."
In 2018, Trump actually had flags lowered to honor the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) be prematurely raised back up in a sign of disrespect for his former political rival. After widespread criticism, Trump eventually relented and lowered them again.
And after an anti-racism protester was run over and killed by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Trump claimed that there were "very fine people" on both sides of the violent attacks.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.