Today President Trump is the face of the Republican Party, but as recently as 2011, Trump donated $5,000 to Democrat Kamala Harris’ campaign to become California’s attorney general. American Oligarchs author Andrea Bernstein says Trump’s donation history is indicative of a practice he learned from his father, Fred Trump.
Fred Trump amassed his real estate fortune in part, Bernstein says, by donating to politicians who would bend rules to his favor — and his son followed suit: “It is a lifelong practice for Fred Trump — and then later for Donald Trump — that they cultivate[d] their connections with the Brooklyn political machine, which at that time was almost exclusively controlled by the Democratic Party.”
“You would see [Donald Trump] continuing the practices that he learned from his father: making enormous political donations, hiring the lawyers and the insurance brokers and other people connected to the political machines, learning how to manipulate law enforcement,” she says.
Bernstein co-hosts the podcast Trump, Inc., which investigates who profits from the Trump administration. Her new book, American Oligarchs, examines how Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have benefited from family connections and the influence of money in politics.
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