Jeb Bush: Donald Trump Once Held a Fundraiser For Me

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
Font Size:

Donald Trump may now routinely attack 2016 presidential rival Jeb Bush as unqualified for the Oval Office, but at one time the real estate mogul apparently raised money for the former Florida governor.

The two most recent national polls of the Republican presidential primary field show Trump soaring into second place, right behind Bush. When asked by The Daily Caller what he thinks of Trump’s rise and whether he has ever met with Trump at the billionaire’s Palm Beach country club estate, Mar-a-Lago, Bush said Trump actually once held a fundraiser for his 2002 gubernatorial re-election campaign.

“He did a fundraiser for me,” Bush said. “It might have been my re-election. I’m pretty sure it was my re-election, 2002. And in the past he said good things about my tenure as governor. But I’ve met him twice in my life.”

Records show Trump did donate $500 to Bush’s re-election campaign in 2002, which was the maximum donation allowed for state candidates in Florida at the time. News articles from 2002 don’t note a Trump fundraiser for Bush, though that hardly means one did not occur. Political fundraisers aren’t often covered by the press.

Bush is a staunch supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a pathway to some type of legal status for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. Given this and the fact that his wife Columba was born in Mexico, TheDC thought the former Florida governor might have a strong reaction to Trump’s comment from his official presidential announcement last month that many illegal immigrants coming into the United States are “rapists.”

Bush, who said he didn’t see Trump’s performance, gave a low key — you might say anti-Trumpian — response.

“His views are not reflective of the immigrant experience. He’s just wrong,” Bush said in the mellow tone he spoke in throughout the 15-minute phone interview.  He was also quick to note, “I don’t spend a lot of quality time going over the Trump message.”

During the interview, Bush also responded to a Washington Post story from Monday that featured a video of Bush in Nigeria in 1989 repeatedly touting his connection to his father, then-President George H.W. Bush, presumably in order to get business for a company he was associated with, Moving Water Industries.

“I didn’t see the story, I didn’t see the video, so I’m not quite certain what this is about,” Bush replied, before saying that he “did not receive any benefit” from MWI’s dealings in Nigeria. (READ: Jeb Bush Says Obama’s Cuba Embassy Announcement All About ‘Legacy Building)

Come back next week to see the final part of TheDC’s interview with Bush on his foreign policy views.

This article has been updated

Follow Jamie on Twitter