Former President Bill Clinton and real-estate magnate Donald Trump reportedly had a phone conversation in May, only weeks before Trump launched his campaign.
According to a new report from The Washington Post, Clinton called Trump in May and “encouraged Trump’s efforts” to become more influential within the GOP, according to four “Trump allies” and one Clinton associate “familiar with the exchange.”
From The Washington Post‘s Robert Costa and Anne Gearan:
“Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.”
“The tone of the call was informal and Clinton never urged Trump to run, the four people said. Rather, they said, Clinton sounded curious about Trump’s moves toward a presidential bid and told Trump that he was striking a chord with frustrated conservatives and was a rising force on the right.”
Hillary Clinton, Bill’s husband, is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.
The Clintons have long had ties with the the real-estate magnate. As The Post notes, Hillary Clinton attended Trump’s wedding in 2005, and the reality-television personality donated money to her past Senate campaigns, though he has also donated to several of his Republican rivals. He has said those donations were transactional.
The former president has spoken positively of Trump in the past.
In a 2012 interview with CNN, Clinton said he liked Trump, despite the real-estate mogul’s controversial campaign to get President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate.
“Donald Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me. We’re all New Yorkers,” Clinton said. “I like him. And I love playing golf with him.”
Aides to both Bill Clinton and Trump did not comment on record to The Post. Hillary Clinton’s campaign also didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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