Donald Trump faced scrutiny over his past support for Democratic politicians in Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz leveled a series of attacks on the real estate mogul’s bipartisan giving — most of which were accurate.
“Donald supported John Kerry over George W. Bush,” Cruz said. “If you don’t like Obamacare, Donald Trump funded Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi taking over Congress to pass Obamacare.
“On immigration, if you don’t like amnesty, if you don’t like the Gang of Eight, Donald Trump funded five of the eight members of the Gang of Eight, $50,000.”
It’s true Trump has donated to Reid and Pelosi, as well as five members of the so-called Gang of Eight in the Senate, the bipartisan group of lawmakers — which included Cruz’s current GOP presidential rival Marco Rubio — who authored ultimately unsuccessful comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Trump has also made a number of donations to national Democratic party organizations, including in the 2006 election cycle when Democrats wrested away control of both the House and Senate.
But Trump did not back then Sen. John Kerry over President Bush: He donated to both campaigns, giving $2,000 to Bush a week before donating the same amount to Kerry, campaign finance data compiled by Political Moneyline show. A 2007 biography of Trump says the billionaire celebrity “supported President George Bush for re-election,” Buzzfeed reported late Thursday.
Cruz also pounced on Trump’s past financial support for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“Donald Trump has written checks to Hillary Clinton not once, not twice, not three times. Ten times. And four of those checks were not to her Senate campaign. It wasn't that she was the New York senator and it was a cost of doing business. It was to her presidential campaign,” Cruz said.
That’s true: Trump has given frequently to Clinton’s campaigns, and has supported her family’s foundation. The donations to Clinton's presidential campaign totaled $4,600. Trump also served as a fundraiser for 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain. The Center for Responsive Politics reported Trump bundled $88,250 worth of donations for the McCain campaign.
Over the course of the 2016 campaign, Trump has faced repeated questions about his donations to Democrats. NPR previously found Trump mostly favored Democrats until 2010, and he’s given almost exclusively to Republicans in the years since.
According to an International Business Times review of data from Political Moneyline, Trump has given nearly $1.5 million to GOP candidates and political groups on the federal level since 1979. The billionaire has donated roughly $405,000 to Democratic politicians and committees during that same span of time.