Recently, GOP candidate Donald Trump has been mighty hard on his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Yet, he has apparently forgotten that he was quite enamored by her, once upon a time. Furthermore, he thinks the rest of us have forgotten as well.
In April, before announcing his candidacy, Trump tweeted the following highly offensive comment: “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” Yet, seven years ago, he described her as “very talented, very smart.” He even contributed to her 2008 Presidential campaign – as well as to Democrats further down the ticket. He once applauded Obama’s handling of the 2008 financial crisis.
Yesterday, however, Trump attempted to backpedal, making a shockingly frank admission: “As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do…as a businessman, I need that.” What Trump really was saying, I no longer support Hillary, Obama or any of the other Democratic leaders because they would not give me political favors. Thus, I switched my giving to Republicans, and the switch has been drastic starting in 2011.
The Wall Street Journal described Trump’s former relationship with Ms. Clinton as “purely transactional.” In short, Trump admits that he was attempting to buy his own pet politician. Over the years, he has made several such “investments,” paying out a total of $584,850 in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates from 1989 through 2011. Recipients included Harry Reid, Charles Rangel, the late Edward Kennedy, and 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry.
Prior to 2011, Trump gave larger “contributions” to Democrats than Republicans. By 2011, however, it became clear to Trump that he wasn’t getting any return on his “investments” in Democratic candidates. Since then, he has donated almost exclusively to Republicans.
Trump’s statements are uncharacteristically candid and forthright for any politician or political donor. It confirms what we’ve known for years: America has the best government money can buy. Except that it’s not working so well, anymore. Voters identifying as Democrats, Republicans and Independents are heartily sick and tired of the influence of money in politics – and candidates have been taking notice. Both Sanders and Clinton openly support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Republican candidates won’t go that far, but most of them support laws that would require disclosure and bring more transparency.
Trump stopped giving to Democratic candidates in 2011, and especially Hillary Clinton, because he realized it didn’t pay off for him. He switched to Republicans because he knows they will provide him political favors. Trump’s admission on this is extremely telling about the true difference between the parties, and why Corporate America and the 1% support Republican candidates and not Democratic candidates.