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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on July 28, 2016.

Democrats weren’t always bashing Donald Trump. In fact, in 1987, they were seemingly desperate to get his star power on their side.

Even though Trump was a registered Republican, House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Texas) and other high-ranking Democrats asked Trump to host their annual Democratic congressional fundraising dinner the next year. Rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers cheered the effort on. Future presidential nominee John Kerry chimed in to invite Trump on behalf of the Senate Democrats.

“He’s young, dynamic, successful,” gushed Rep. Beryl Anthony Jr., the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, to the New York Times. He cited Trump’s wish to help negotiate nuclear arms reduction treaties as evidence Trump was in the wrong party. “The message Trump has been preaching is a Democratic message,” Anthony said.

Trump, however, was lukewarm. “I’m honored to be asked by the Speaker, whom I hold in high esteem,” he told the Times. He said he’d consider the invitation, but probably not Anthony’s suggestion that he become a Democrat. Two days later, the Washington Post reported that Trump was indeed ready to fundraise—for Rudy Giuliani, then a potential Republican candidate for the Senate. He eventually turned the Democrats down.

 

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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