The Corner

When Will Democrats Return Trump’s Donations?

Hillary Clinton has turned up the rhetorical temperature on Donald Trump lately, albeit without a trace of irony as to her choice of venue:

“Ugly currents that lurked just the below the surface of our politics have burst into the open. And everyone sees this bigotry for what it is, therefore it is up to all of us to repudiate it,” Clinton said during a speech on race at the annual National Action Network convention, where she was joined by Al Sharpton.

You would think that means she thinks Trump is so bad he should be radioactive to others in politics, and sure enough, the Democratic message machine has gone to great lengths to paint even Trump’s most determined adversaries within the GOP as the “Party of Trump.” And one of the time-honored political rituals when a political figure is cast as beyond the pale is to demand that the politician give back campaign contributions. Trump himself has pledged to return money from a prominent white supremacist, while Hillary has pledged to refuse donations from the private prison industry, and is under pressure from Greenpeace to return donations from the fossil fuel industry, as well as facing questions about accepting a six-figure donation from Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton (Hillary herself was on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors for six years).

But what about taking money from Trump and his family? Trump, of course, has been a long-time major donor to Democrats, including Hillary, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, and donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Trump’s wife Melania donated to Hillary in 2006.  Trump’s children have also been frequent Democratic donors:

Ivanka, who hopped over to the Republican Party in November 2015, gave more than $83,000 directly to candidates and committees—and 92 percent of that went to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Cory Booker, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Eleanor Norton Holmes. She also gave to the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees.

(Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. have both donated to Chuck Schumer as well).  Nevada Republican Dean Heller has returned campaign contributions from Trump, and in the Democratic primary to replace Steve Israel in NY-3, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi has been pressed by his opponent to do the same.  Yet, the Clinton Foundation, Schumer and Andrew Cuomo have all refused to return Trump’s money. Even in the hotly-contested Democratic primary, in which Bernie Sanders has made a very big issue of Secretary Clinton’s fundraising, there’s been hardly a peep about the Clintons taking Trump’s money. A petition at Change.org to have her return the money has, at this writing, just 13 signatures.

Maybe the Clintons, and Democrats, don’t really see Trump as so far outside the mainstream of their party after all.

Dan McLaughlin is an attorney practicing securities and commercial litigation in New York City, and a contributing columnist at National Review Online.

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