Wash. Examiner: Mike Pompeo to Headline Republican Jewish Coalition Event
by David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner
Mike Pompeo is headed to Las Vegas to headline a meeting of top officials and benefactors of the Republican Jewish Coalition as the group gathers for an annual conference that has become a key stop on the road to the White House for aspiring GOP presidential candidates.
The former secretary of state will speak Thursday evening at a “VIP reception” of the RJC’s board and other prominent supporters — a collection of business and political operatives that includes some of the nation’s most influential Republican campaign contributors and bundlers. Pompeo was scheduled for the same speaking slot at the RJC conference scheduled for mid-March of 2020 before the group pulled the plug because of the coronavirus.
Pompeo is among several GOP 2024 contenders set to address the RJC conference scheduled for later this week at the Palazzo Resort along the Las Vegas Strip, but he is the only one with an audience of influential party financiers all to himself.
In part, this is because the RJC attempted not to play favorites at the first major in-person conference it has hosted since the onset of the pandemic and to accommodate schedule constraints. So instead of anointing keynote speakers to address attendees during daytime and evening festivities Friday and Saturday, the RJC arranged to have the various prominent Republicans at this year’s conference speak in groups.
Friday evening features Rep. David Kustoff of Tennessee, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, whom Republicans are recruiting to run for Senate in 2022, and three Republicans eyeing a 2024 presidential bid: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The 2024 contenders taking the stage during Saturday’s daytime portion of the RJC gathering include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was also the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Former President Donald Trump, an RJC favorite because of his policy toward Israel, is set to address the conference via prerecorded video.
Saturday evening, the RJC is showcasing Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who is running for governor, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, and former Vice President Mike Pence, who is also a 2024 contender.
A tribute to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who died in January after many years of donating hundreds of millions of dollars to the Republican Party and the RJC, is also on the conference agenda, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Examiner. Adelson was an RJC board member, and the group’s conferences have long been held at the Palazzo, one of the casino hotels owned by his company.
Other Republicans set to appear at the RJC gathering this coming weekend include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Reps. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Young Kim and Michelle Steel of California, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Carlos Gimenez, Maria Salazar, and Michael Waltz of Florida.
Also headed to Las Vegas for the event are Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Sarah Sanders, a candidate for governor in Arkansas.
In recent years, the RJC has begun staggering invitations to its annual conference to ensure attendees and donors hear from a variety of party leaders and politicians planning to run for president. This move also was necessary because access to the RJC has become so coveted, the group could not accommodate all of the high-profile Republicans seeking speaking slots at every event.