Seated behind Trump were members of Congress, members of the new president's family, former presidents, and one Republican Party megadonor: billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. It was the first time in recent memory a new president welcomed a major campaign contributor literally onto the inaugural dais. Soon after, Adelson attended an exclusive luncheon with Trump and congressional leaders at the Capitol.
It's the same Republican megadonor who also joined Trump for dinner last night at the White House. The Washington Post reported yesterday about the presidential gathering:
Republican financier Sheldon Adelson will dine with President Trump on Thursday night at the White House, according to a Trump adviser who was not authorized to speak publicly. Other White House officials and Trump associates are also expected to attend the dinner, the adviser said.
Adelson, who has an estimated net worth of $29.6 billion, and his wife, Miriam, were major Trump donors last year, and continue to have a close relationship with the president.
At face value, the idea that a sitting president would break bread with a major donor isn't that unusual -- every modern president has done the same thing -- but it's Trump's previous comments about Adelson in particular that make this relationship noteworthy.
During the Republican presidential primaries, Adelson reportedly favored Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for the GOP nomination, which annoyed Trump. The New York Republican tweeted at the time, "Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!"
Now that Adelson is receiving unprecedented access to Trump, I'm curious: who's the perfect little puppet now?