Donald Trump, taking some heat from the right over his ties to the Clintons, said during the first GOP presidential debate that Hillary Clinton “had no choice” but to come to his third wedding.
Trump has long had some relationship with fellow New Yorkers Bill and Hillary Clinton. He donated to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns in 2000 and 2006, her presidential campaign in 2008, and has given at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And Clinton sat in the front row of Trump’s 2005 wedding. Trump aides told The Washington Post Wednesday that Bill Clinton encouraged Trump to run for president.
During the debate, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump why he donated to Clinton, who is likely to be the Democrats’ nominee in 2016. Trump, who has said his billions make him independent and immune to influence-peddling, said he wanted to curry favor with the Clintons and received special favors.
“I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said, ‘Be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding,” Trump replied. “You know why? She had no choice, because I gave.”
Trump went on to say that he donated money to the Clinton Foundation, but was disappointed by how it was spent. “I didn’t know the money would be used on private jets going all over the world,” he said.
Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, sitting with reporters at her campaign headquarters during the debate, dismissed the idea as “ridiculous.”
“That hurts her feelings,” Palmieri said. “She thought he wanted her to be there. Why did he invite her?”
Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, added, “Trump always has interesting things to say.”