Nate Jackson / Sep. 18, 2015

Trump Lied About Casino Lobbying

His historical rewrite doesn’t change the record.

A seemingly minor point in Wednesday’s debate proved enlightening for those willing to admit it. One of Donald Trump’s routine boasts is how he donates to politicians to get what he wants. “As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” he told The Wall Street Journal in July. Jeb Bush sought to highlight Wednesday how he is “not going to be bought by anybody,” and he recounted how Trump lobbied hard for casino gambling in Florida in the late 1990s, donating to Bush to try to make it happen. “The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something — that was generous and gave me money — was Donald Trump. He wanted casino gambling in Florida…” Trump quickly interjected, “I didn’t.” And the two argued back and forth, with Trump concluding, “I promise, if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.”

The truth is he did want it and invested heavily to make it happen, including a $50,000 donation to the Florida Republican Party and hosting a $500-a-head fundraiser for Bush. Trump’s campaign later clarified, “Mr. Trump never asked Jeb Bush personally to approve casino gambling.” That’s a technicality, however, and his historical rewrite doesn’t change the record.

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