Elections

Jeb Bush’s Former Finance Chairman Joins Donald Trump’s Fundraising Team

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

As he builds a more traditional fundraising apparatus for his Republican presidential campaign, Donald Trump is now relying on the types of party moneymen he used to bash.

On Tuesday, Trump and the Republican National Committee announced the formation of the “2016 Trump Victory leadership team” to raise money for his campaign.

Woody Johnson, the New York Jets owner who was previously finance chairman to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign, is among those serving as a vice chairman of the effort.

In January, Johnson said “oh, jeez” when asked about the possibility of Trump winning the nomination. ”I’m not going to go there yet,” he said. “I’m supporting Jeb Bush and I’m hoping that he’s going to make it. I think he’s the right answer for the country.”

That same month, Trump tweeted: “Woody Johnson, owner of the NYJets, is @JebBush’s finance chairman. If Woody would’ve been w/me, he would’ve been in the playoffs, at least!”

The fundraising practices of Trump — who often boasted during the primary of largely self-funding his campaign — have changed since he locked up the Republican nomination. Trump has argued that by spending his own money, he won’t be beholden to lobbyists, big donors and special interests.

But after he became the presumptive nominee, Trump named Steven Mnuchin, the chairman and CEO of private investment firm Dune Capital Management LP, to lead his fundraising.

Mnuchin was a partner at Goldman Sachs, where he worked for 17 years. He also worked at Soros Fund Management LLC, founded by liberal mega-donor George Soros.

Lewis Eisenberg will serve as finance chairman of Trump victory. Also serving as vice chairs are Elliot Broidy, Ray Washburne, Diane Hendricks, Mel Somber and Ronald Weiser.

In a statement, Trump said of the newly formed committee: “It is my great honor to help raise money for the Republican Party to ensure Hillary Clinton is defeated in November and Republican candidates maintain the majority in the House and Senate. This is an impressive leadership team comprised of talented individuals working together to unite the party and win what will be the most important election of our lifetime.”

Trump added: “The money raised is an investment in the Republican Party and the future of our country, which, as president, I am going to make better and stronger than ever before.”

Follow Alex on Twitter