Senator Ted Cruz supporters and Donald Trump haters alike are celebrating a move that Senator Cruz made at a rally. The feud between these two has been escalating over time as it becomes clear they are the two frontrunners for the nomination. Now Senator Cruz has taken a stand with a list of Trump donations to Democrats.
But the part that Senator Cruz left out? The donations to Republicans.
Trump has actually been relatively evenhanded in doling out cash to the two parties, but since 1989, he’s contributed over $350,000 more to Republicans running for federal and state offices, campaign finance records show.
Data from the Federal Election Commission and state elections offices provided by the two websites show that Trump has given $584,850 to Democrats and $961,140 to the GOP over the last 26 years.
This isn’t surprising given that unlike Senator Cruz, Trump’s career isn’t in politics. Trump wasn’t a lawyer with a Republican presidential campaign a decade and a half ago who went on to join the Republican president’s establishment administration. Trump is a businessman.
Prominent business leaders either directly or through lobbyists will attempt to gain favor with politicians on both sides of the spectrum via donations. Right or wrong, this is how things work in modern politics, and it’s not Trump alone.
The difference in donations is almost entirely captured in Trump’s recent giving. Since 2012, Trump has donated $463,450 to Republicans and just $3,500 to Democrats (California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Assemblyman Michael Benedetto).
Does this make Donald Trump a bad Republican? No, it just means he was like every other businessperson attempting to gain favor and money talks.
In 2011, a Washington Post analysis of Trump’s donations found the majority of them going to Democrats. But the flow of cash from Trump to Democrats has fallen off; the last time he gave to a Democrat running for federal office was in 2010.
If you’ll remember, 2010 was the year of the massive Tea Party uprising which saw a radical shift in politics. This tilted the balance for Republicans.
As an influential real estate developer in the Northeast and in cities around the world, Trump’s contributions may have not have much to do with one’s political party.
From 1996 to 2007, for instance, Trump made 12 separate donations to New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican who represents the Garden State’s Second Congressional District. The district includes Atlantic City, where the Trump Organization used to have significant holdings.
While conservatives like Ferguson have criticized Trump for his donations to Democrats, Trump defended himself as having no viable Republican options in overwhelmingly blue states like New York. “Everyone’s Democratic,” he told Sean Hannity in 2011. “So what am I going to do — contribute to Republicans? One thing: I’m not stupid. Am I going to contribute to Republicans for my whole life when they get heat when they run against some Democrat and the most they can get is 1 percent of the vote?”
Trump has a point. When he’s a businessman attempting to expand his business and gain favor, he’s going to make donations to the party in power. Is this wrong? That’s a separate moral argument to be made, but it’s important to note that it is not restricted to Trump. Many others in the business world do that.
Punditfact’s article came in response to the claim made by author and radio host Ben Ferguson’s claim that Senator Ted Cruz and Trump haters alike like to make: Trump donates more to Democrats and is thus more loyal to them.
How did Punditfact rate that argument? Their verdict:
Ferguson said that Trump has “given more money to Democratic candidates than Republican candidates.”
We can’t say definitively that his claim is wrong at all levels of government, since we don’t have the local data. But public records show that the real estate tycoon has actually contributed around $350,000 more to Republicans at the state and federal level than Democrats. That, however, is a recent development.
Ferguson’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts. We rate it Mostly False.
Let the facts speak for themselves.
Senator Cruz can continue his biased attacks against business people for doing what they do to make their businesses successful, but it’s honestly a tactic more likely to come out of a Democrat. Not just any Democrat, but a self-described socialist named Bernie Sanders, who likes to claim that all politicians are bought by billionaires and big business.
In short, Senator Cruz is indeed feeling the Bern. Where do his loyalties stand?