Donald Trump jumped into the crowded and rowdy Republican presidential field on Tuesday, but the business magnate has astutely played both sides of the aisle for years, and has been especially cozy — financially and personally — with Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner and former New York senator who had some say over policy that could have impacted Trump’s vast business dealings, received donations from both him and son Donald Trump Jr. on separate occasions in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007, according to state and federal disclosure records.
Trump has also been generous with the Clinton Foundation, donating at least $100,000, according to the non-profit. In another sign of their closeness, Clinton attended Trump’s 2005 wedding to current wife Melania Knauss at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, along with the likes of Katie Couric, Billy Joel and then-“American Idol“ judge Simon Cowell. (According to People, Clinton had front-pew seating. Though Bill missed the ceremony itself, he did show up to the reception.)
Donald Trump arrives to speak to the media at Pease International Trade Port on April 27, 2011 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Trump is testing the waters for a possible run for the Republican Presidential nomination, and addressed US President Barack Obama's release of his original birth certificate earlier that morning.
She wasn’t the only Democratic beneficiary of Trump’s wealth. Trump donated $5,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $20,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2006 cycle, effectively buoying the election prospects of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, respectively. Just $1,000 of Trump’s money in the 2006 cycle went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The last time Trump considered a White House run in 2011, reporters seized upon the fact that he has given most of his money to Democrats and Democratic causes, according to records.
Trump defended his donations to New York Democrats in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that April, proclaiming that in the state, “everyone is Democratic“ and implying that to donate otherwise would be waste of his money.
“So, what am I going to do, contribute to Republicans? Am I going to contribute to, I mean, one thing I’m not stupid. Am I going to contribute to a Republican for my whole life when they get, they run against some Democrat. And the most they can get is one percent of the vote,“ he said, noting his “good relationship“ with and donations to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Trump last donated to Schumer directly in 2010, though he had made donations ranging from $250 to $2,000 since 1996.
“I mean, I’ve contributed to Schumer, I contribute — I’ve known Schumer for many, many years. And I have a good relationship with him. The fact is, that I think it is time maybe that we all do get along,“ he told Hannity. Beginning with the 2012 cycle, however, financial disclosures show that Trump has donated exclusively to Republican candidates and groups.
Business mogul Donald Trump makes his way off stage after announcing his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
Trump mentioned neither Clinton nor Schumer in his Tuesday announcement speech. In fact, the only time Trump uttered the word “Clinton“ was not in reference to the Democratic frontrunner, but rather part of the name of the New York state correctional facility from whence two men escaped earlier this month. “Through stupidity, in a very, very hardcore prison, interestingly named Clinton, two vicious murderers, two vicious people escaped, and nobody knows where they are,“ Trump said.