LAS VEGAS, May 13 (UPI) -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is turning to Las Vegas as a source of potential campaign donations as he ramps up his general election effort.
Billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson said in an op-ed in the Washington Post he is endorsing Trump and will help fund Trump's campaign. Adelson is a coveted fundraising figure in the GOP who has funded past presidential candidates and donates large sums to Republican causes.
"While the primary cycle still has some important elections ahead, it is clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president," Adelson wrote. "I am endorsing Trump's bid for president and strongly encourage my fellow Republicans -- especially our Republican elected officials, party loyalists and operatives, and those who provide important financial backing -- to do the same."
In addition to Adelson's support, Trump's newly minted finance director, Steven Mnuchin, also headed West, to the largest annual conference for hedge fund managers, which is being held in Las Vegas this week.
The New York Times reported Mnuchin, a former executive with Goldman Sachs, was meeting with top Wall Street executives in an effort to drum up support for the Republican's campaign, which until now has been a self-funded effort. Trump said he spent about $40 million of his own money on the primary, but will need to raise $1.5 billion from traditional party sources to fund the general election.
Trump's pivot to courting Wall Street donations is a marked shift from his primary campaign, when he often bragged about not needing to take their money -- or the influence it can buy in a potential Trump administration.
Trump has pledged to end certain perks for top investors, including the "carried interest" tax loophole that allow income on investments to be taxed at a lower percentage than regular income.
In addition to Adelson, Trump has also received the support of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, another traditional Republican Party patron, who the Times reported will host a fundraiser for Trump at his Texas ranch next month. Pickens, like many top GOP donors, had backed another candidate in the primary, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Pickens admitted Trump was not his first choice, but said he is more appealing to conservatives than the likely general election alternative, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
"You sit there and you say, well, Donald Trump wasn't who I wanted -- but you have no other choice," Pickens said.