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Wynn win for RNC

Jon Ralston
Jon Ralston

Steve Wynn said White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has been after him to do it, and he finally agreed.

He was talking about accepting a role as the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman, a job that the casino mogul officially took Tuesday.  But why would the billionaire developer, who is working on projects in Las Vegas and Macau, want a thankless job that involves raising money not for his enterprises but for the GOP’s?

“I am one of the many people in America who wants to get things back on the right track,” Wynn said during a brief phone interview. “If I can do something to help...”

Wynn said Priebus, who once headed the RNC, and President Trump, with whom he once feuded but now has embraced, both asked him to take the job. And, he said they changed the description so he doesn’t have to travel around the country asking folks for money.

“I will spend most of my time (raising money) on the phone,” Wynn said. “I’ll do maybe four outings a year.”

Wynn speculated he will do one event at the Wynn and three out-of-town fundraisers. Wynn said he went to the casino company’s board and secured permission before accepting the job.

Wynn was part of Trump’s inaugural committee and attended a rally for then-candidate Donald Trump in Las Vegas during the campaign. But he said during an interview last year that while he thought Trump was misunderstood and qualified to be president, he did not offer full-throated support or a financial contribution.

Wynn has donated to both parties and Republicans and Democrats over the years, but turned toward the GOP shortly after President Obama was elected. Trump frequently described Obama as an anti-business president and regularly eviscerated the Affordable Care Act. Ironically, the Democrats held a debate at the Wynn last cycle, despite the chairman’s antipathy to Obama.

In his new role, Wynn won’t have to change the voicemail greeting on his cell phone when prospective donors call him back: “If you have good news or money, leave a message.”

Disclosure: Wynn Resorts has donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.

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