When we earlier noted the change of course for the GOP as RNC Chair Riebus showed Donald Trump much love, we wondered why the sudden shift of attitude and comment on being a Republican nominee? Well, perhaps, just perhaps, there is a reason why Republican leadership is vying for Trump’s ‘support’… As WaPo reports, former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump as he neared a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men. While there are no specifics about the call, we are reminded that Trump has also donated to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns and to the Clinton Foundation.
Trump, a longtime acquaintance of the Clintons, both of whom attended the businessman’s third wedding in 2005, reportedly had a private telephone conversation in late spring with former President Bill Clinton at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men. As The Washington Post reports,
The talk with Clinton — the spouse of the Democratic presidential front-runner and one of his party’s preeminent political strategists — came just weeks before Trump jumped into the GOP race and surged to the front of the crowded Republican field.
The revelation of the call comes as many Republicans have begun criticizing Trump for his ties to Democrats, including past financial donations to the Clintons and their charitable foundation.
“Mr. Trump reached out to President Clinton a few times. President Clinton returned his call in late May,” a Clinton employee said. “While we don’t make it a practice to discuss the president’s private conversations, we can tell you that the presidential race was not discussed.”
One Trump adviser said Clinton called Trump, but the adviser did not provide specifics about how the call came about.
People with knowledge of the call in both camps said it was one of many that Clinton and Trump have had over the years, whether about golf or donations to the Clinton Foundation. But the call in May was considered especially sensitive, coming soon after Hillary Rodham Clinton had declared her own presidential run the month before.
Clinton has reserved her sharpest attacks for former Florida governor Jeb Bush and other candidates she has called out by name for their policies on immigration, abortion and other issues.
For his part, Trump said little about Clinton until recent weeks.
* * *
What could Trump do in the campaign that would help the Clintons the most? First, he would personally attack leading GOP candidates in 2016, using derisive language that would almost surely find its way into Hillary Clinton campaign ads if she were to become the Democratic nominee. Check that box, right? Next, Trump could deeply offend Hispanic voters who widely respect Hillary Clinton already. Check that box, too!
Similarly, if Trump tied the GOP in knots by prolonging the Republican nominating process, and prolonged the process of Republicans attacking Republicans, that would be a huge benefit for Hillary Clinton. Check that box. And to the degree that newer faces in the Republican Party who could become the strongest challengers to the Democratic nominee in November, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), found their message drowned out by Trump, the big winner would be Hillary Clinton! Check that box, too.
Of course the grand slam for Hillary Clinton would be if Donald Trump were to run as a third-party candidate in 2016. Remember how H. Ross Perot running in 1992 was vital to the election of Bill Clinton and set the stage for his highly successful and fondly remembered two-term presidency? It would be highly unlikely that this box will ultimately be checked by Team Clinton, but stranger things have happened.
Does this suggest that Donald Trump is a Clinton plant in the current campaign? Of course not, but my tongue is only halfway planted in my cheek by raising this thought, which is delightful for Democrats and deep down must be scary for Republicans.
* * *
With Hillary facing plunging poll numbers and FBI probes, is The Donald the Democratic nominee in waiting?