Trump, Clintons go way back, new documents show

Published Tue, Apr 12, 2016 · 10:27 PM

[NEW YORK] These days, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fire plenty of withering invective at each other in the battle for the White House.

But the billionaire tycoon, seeking the Republican presidential nomination, was once on good terms with the Clintons, newly released documents show.

A 450-page trove of records released on Tuesday by the Clinton Library shows Democratic frontrunner Hillary's husband Bill - president between 1993 and 2001 - knew Mr Trump in the 1990s, when the current Republican frontrunner's name came up in several White House memos.

One document from 1995 lists half a dozen White House receptions, dinners and other events to which the real estate mogul was invited.

In June 1996, Bill Clinton's personal secretary Betty Currie sent an email to a White House staffer asking whether to mail Mr Trump a letter congratulating him on his 50th birthday.

The letter was canceled three days later.

Another draft letter to Mr Trump was nixed in December 2000.

In June the same year, Mr Clinton took part in a photo opportunity with Mr Trump in his Trump Tower in Manhattan, where the president was due to attend a fundraiser.

The dump of documents also includes a copy of the title page from Trump's book The Art Of The Deal inscribed to White House aide Mark Middleton.

The Clinton Library released the records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Buzzfeed.

Although they contain no startling revelations, the documents show the White House followed Mr Trump's activities in 1999 during the build-up to a presidential election the following year.

A memo intended to prepare Bill Clinton for a television interview advised how to answer questions about whether presidential campaigns by Mr Trump or other celebrities would be "demeaning" to the White House.

"We go through all sorts of cycles in politics, and we're in one now where some people from the entertainment world are talking about running for president," Mr Clinton was advised to say.

"That's not a first, by the way. So it's a free country, people can chart their own course, and the political process will sort our the wheat from the chaff."

Mr Trump was exploring seeking the Reform Party's nomination, but later abandoned his plan.

Now his campaign to lead the Republican ticket in November's general election is transforming the political landscape, he is increasingly tangling with his potential opponent Hillary Clinton.

He has called the Democratic frontrunner a "total disaster" among other things, she's called him "dangerous." But back in 2005, Mr Trump invited the Clintons to attend his third wedding in Florida.

And even if the two presidential hopefuls have nothing nice to say about each other, their daughters Ivanka and Chelsea are still good friends by their own accounts.


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