Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the ultimate frenemies
Trump, Clinton push closing arguments
WITH their arms around each other’s waists and relaxed, happy expressions lighting up their faces, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton look like the best of friends.
The cosy snap of the presidential hopefuls with their spouses, taken just over a decade ago at Mr Trump’s wedding to third wife Melania, was today pinpointed by the New York Times as illustrating just how much their relationship has changed.
Now fearsome political foes, the candidates once mingled on the social and business circuits, with Bill Clinton advising Mr Trump on his political ambitions over the phone and their daughters Ivanka and Chelsea forming a close friendship.
The Republican nominee has torn into the Clintons during a vicious campaign, labelling his opponent a supporter of rapists and her husband “one of the great women-abusers of all time”. But at one time, Mr Trump spoke of his admiration of the former president, dismissing the Monica Lewinsky scandal as “unimportant” and appearing to see him as a kindred spirit who triumphed in spite of the mud thrown at him.
At the extravagant January 2005 Trump wedding in Palm Beach, Florida, Mrs Clinton took pride of place in the front row of the church. The then-Senator and her husband, who joined her at the reception, were treated as special guests at a star-studded event attended by he biggest celebrities around, including Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour, Sylvester Stallone and Barbara Walters.
‘WHEN I NEEDED HILLARY, SHE WAS THERE’
Mr Trump told Politico last year that Mrs Clinton, then a senator, was there because he was a generous donor to her campaigns and to the Clinton Foundation.
“I demanded that they be there — they had no choice and that’s what’s wrong with our country. Our country is run by and for donors, special interests and lobbyists,” he said.
“With me, there are no lobbyists and special interests. My only special interest is the United States of America.”
Mrs Clinton also tried to play down her presence at the wedding as purely for “fun” and “entertainment”. But the New York Times said some of her aides were surprised she would go to such a status-seeking event, believing Mrs Clinton rearranged her schedule because she thought Mr Trump was a more important donor than he was.
The Apprentice star donated $4700 to Mrs Clinton’s Senate war chest between 2002 and 2009 and even after that, gave a massive $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
But the Republican candidate last year brushed off his generosity as simple strategy.
“I’m a businessman, I contribute to everybody,” Mr Trump toldFox & Friends in July 2015, a fact corroborated by PunditFact. “When I need Hillary, she was there. If I say go to my wedding, they go to my wedding.”
The real estate billionaire told the Daily Mail he had never received favour in return for his donations to the Clintons, “but they do kiss my ass”.
COULD THE HATE BE FAKE?
The connection has continued on and off through the years, with Mr Trump visiting the Clintons at the White House in the early 90s, Mr Clinton appointing Mr Trump’s sister as an appeals court judge in 1996 and the Clintons visiting Trump Tower in 2000.
Mr Trump has certainly seemed eager to court the Clintons’ favour, rebuilding a golf course 10 kilometres from the Clinton home in 1999 partly because he knew Mr Clinton needed somewhere to play. He even hung photos of the former president on the wall, and the pair played together at a charity event in 2008.
Mr Trump switched between the Republican, Democratic and Independence parties seven times between 1999 and 2012, according to Trump Revealed, by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher.
That’s the reason some have claimed he is a “false-flag candidate” for the presidency, designed to get Mrs Clinton into the White House. The Washington Posteven revealed that Mr Clinton encouraged Mr Trump to play a larger role in the Republican Party, warning him he would not succeed as an independent.
In June 2015, Mr Clinton said Mr Trump had been “believe it or not, uncommonly nice to Hillary and me”, in an interview with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart.
“He thought Hillary was a good senator for New York after 9/11 and he has actually, he’s one of the many Republicans who supported our foundation before they got the memo,” added the former president.
‘IT DOESN’T QUITE FIT WITH WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW ABOUT HIM’
Mr Trump returned the praise when he captioned a photo of him and his sons with Mrs Clinton in the introduction to his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback: “The First Lady is a wonderful woman who has handled pressure incredibly well.”
In 2012, he told Fox Mrs Clinton was “a terrific woman” who “really works hard”, he had “known her and her husband for years” and he “liked them both a lot.”
She has been more irreverent in her comments about him, joking in 2000 on Late Night with David Letterman that one of the reasons she went on the show was as “an excuse to get out of dinner with Donald Trump.”
In February, the Democratic nominee insisted to People magazine that she and her rival “were not friends” adding: “We knew each other, obviously, in New York. I knew a lot of people.”
But she almost sounded hurt when she told MSNBC’s Morning Joe later the same month: “I didn’t know him that well, but I did know him. And I think it’s been most surprising to me to see somebody who was affable and was good company and had a reputation of being kind of bigger than life really traffic in a lot of the prejudice and paranoia. And some of the comments that he’s made, which have been so divisive and mean-spirited, doesn’t quite fit with what I thought I knew about him.
“He has really been offensive and in many respects surprising to those of us who did know him.”
THE GREATEST BOND
Then there’s the candidates’ daughters. Ivanka Trump donated $2300 to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign fund in 2006. Chelsea Clinton gushed over their friendship in Vogue just last year.
“She’s always aware of everyone around her and ensuring that everyone is enjoying the moment,” the 36-year-old told the magazine. “It’s an awareness that in some ways reminds me of my dad, and his ability to increase the joy of the room. There’s nothing skin-deep about Ivanka. And I think that’s a real tribute to her because certainly anyone as gorgeous as she is could have probably gone quite far being skin-deep.”
Mr Trump has said he held back at a debate out of respect to Chelsea, and in August, Ivanka stressed the pair were still pals. “She’s a great girl and she’s a great friend to me,” the Republican candidate’s daughter told Fox News. “Obviously the intensity and scrutiny at this moment in our lives is pretty extreme.
‘We’ve stayed close to one another, maybe a little less publicly so, but she’s a good friend and we support each other. We’re not the candidates. We’re the children of the candidates. We never talked about politics before this campaign.”
But it is clear their friendship has come under strain, with Chelsea recently remarking: “I don’t expect [Ivanka] to always have to defend her father. I think it’s clear that Mr Trump is running his campaign and saying what he thinks is important in this election … my mother’s not engaging in divisive, bigoted rhetoric.”
As for Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton, it’s clear their friendship and now animosity has always been about business and politics. For whatever reasons, they’ve kept one another close.
While some may believe the aggressive words they’ve exchanged in this campaign are entirely tactical, the personal insults may be a little difficult to forget.
But we’d bet these frenemies won’t have seen the last of each other
We are just asking questions that no one sem to want to be asked WHY