Republicans Will Speak to Jewish Coalition, With Terrorism as a Focus

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 8.01.58 AMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Good Thursday morning. The day after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., killed at least 14 people and prompted widespread reaction on the campaign trail, the entire Republican field will gather in Washington to address the Republican Jewish Coalition, where terrorism will be a central topic of conversation.

All 14 Republican presidential candidates will descend on Washington on Thursday for the Republican Jewish Coalition’s daylong 2016 forum, where terrorism and the Iran nuclear deal are certain to be the focus of the speeches.

All of the candidates have been vocal in their support of the safety of Israel, the issue of premier importance to the coalition’s members. But the ability to sound knowledgeable on foreign policy at the forum will also be important. The terrorist attacks in Paris add a renewed sense of urgency, as well.

Donald J. Trump, who said at a campaign event on Wednesday night that he would be visiting Israel “very soon,” will be a focus of attention, for his tone and for the substance of his remarks. But talking tough has never been one of Mr. Trump’s challenges, and Thursday is unlikely to be an exception. He is also expected to take questions from the audience.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who have been dueling recently over who is stronger on national security, will also be watched for their remarks.

The Republican Jewish Coalition is heavily funded by Sheldon Adelson, the Nevada-based casino magnate to whom most candidates — including Mr. Trump — have appealed for support. Mr. Adelson is said to be leaning toward Mr. Rubio, but since the next Republican presidential primary debate on Dec. 15 will be held at his hotel, the Venetian in Las Vegas, it seems unlikely he will make a move before then.

But it is also unclear that he is in a rush to endorse, after spending more than $20 million to help Newt Gingrich in 2012, elongating the Republican primary against Mitt Romney.