New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) apologized to Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson for referring to the West Bank as “occupied territories” during an address Saturday to a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas, according to CNN.
Christie told Adelson that he “misspoke” in his remarks, Andy Abboud, a senior vice president of Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp, told the network. Christie also told Adelson that he did not believe that Israel was occupying the disputed area.
Many Israelis object to referring to areas where Palestinians live but Israel maintains a military presence as “occupied territories” because they believe the term implicitly suggests that Israeli troops should not be in the area.
Christie’s remark came as he was describing a trip he had taken to Israel.
“I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across, and just felt personally how extraordinary that was, to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day,” Christie said.
The New Jersey governor was among a slate of potential 2016 presidential candidates visiting Las Vegas in a bid to impress the casino mogul, who spent around $150 million on the 2012 campaign, according to a report from the Huffington Post. Adelson was a major backer of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) before throwing his support behind Mitt Romney.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Ohio Gov. John Kaisch were among the other possible 2016 GOP candidates to appear at the event.
Abboud told CNN that Adelson was satisfied by Christie’s explanation of the comment.
“They had a nice meeting,” Abboud said.