Skip to navigationSkip to content
AP Photo/Nati Harnik
2008 wasn’t the first time Trump broke party ranks.

Donald Trump’s support of Hillary in 2008 reflects his history of changing parties

Jake Flanagin
By Jake Flanagin

Reporter

Texas senator Ted Cruz took a major swing at the Republican frontrunner during the presidential debates broadcast by Fox News tonight (Mar. 3). He accused billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump of supporting “left-wing, Democratic” politicians for years, and pinpointed a number of checks written by Trump to support current Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in her campaign for president in 2008.

“I would like to ask Donald, why?” Cruz asked.

Surprisingly, Trump was forthright. “In 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton,” he admitted. “It was for business.”

The jump from Democrat in 2008 to Republican today isn’t the first time Trump seemed to swap party affiliations. Although he claims to have previously supported both the presidential candidacies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, he’s also donated to liberal politicians like Nevada senator Harry Reid, former Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell, and current Chicago mayor (and former Obama aide) Rahm Emanuel. In fact, he’s donated more to Democratic politicians ($476,000) than to Republicans ($452,000) over the past 15 years, the National Review reported.

His voting registration record over the past three decades (based on news reports and public statements) reflects some seemingly erratic politics:

YearRegistered as:Notes
1987RepublicanClaims to have been previously registered at his boyhood home in Queens. Prior affiliation is unknown.
1999IndependentOpenly campaigned for Ross Perot and his Reform Party. Explored a presidential run, saying Oprah Winfrey would be his “ideal running mate.”
2001Democrat
2008DemocratDonated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
2009Republican
2011IndependentMarks “I DO NOT WISH TO ENROLL IN A PARTY” on his voter registration form.
2012RepublicanEndorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president against Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.
2015RepublicanAnnounces campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

But despite donating money to candidates and being an outspoken critic during recent presidential races, he did not vote in the past six presidential primary elections, the National Review found.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.