Conspiracy theorists, rejoice! A surprising story broken by The Washington Post on Wednesday afternoon reveals that in May, former president Bill Clinton returned a phone call from Donald Trump, and the two men discussed the billionaire’s interest in seeking entering politics.
Clinton “encouraged” the former reality television star to increase his visibility in the Republican Party and told Trump that he was “striking a chord with frustrated conservatives and was a rising force on the right,” reporters Robert Costa and Anne Gearan write.
A few weeks later, the real estate mogul descended a glittering escalator in Trump Tower in Manhattan and announced the candidacy that has utterly upended the Republican presidential primary. Leading in every major poll, frequently by double digit margins, Trump has swept aside seasoned politicians, including former and current governors and sitting senators, to dominate the 17-candidate field.
The Post report was based on conversations with four unnamed Trump “allies” and one unnamed “Clinton associate.” Clinton’s personal office confirmed that a call between the two men had taken place, according to the report, but said the 2016 race was never specifically discussed.
Naturally, the revelation that Trump might have received a little nudge from the GOP’s ultimate bogeyman instantly spawned speculation that his entire candidacy was engineered by Democrats to disrupt the Republican Party while putting a second Clinton in the White House.
Never was silly or ridiculous. Might even be true. https://t.co/soiJihMcE6— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) August 5, 2015
If that were indeed the case, it’s worked spectacularly well so far, with Trump’s controversial pronouncements about immigrants being rapists and criminals earning a surprising amount of support among GOP primary voters. But whether that leads to a Hillary Clinton victory in 2016 is still to be seen.
A more interesting question might be: What kind of “ally” spills to The Washington Post that you consulted a man many in the GOP view as the party’s nemesis before throwing your hat in the ring?
In any case, much of this is likely to be cleared up on Thursday night when Fox News host Chris Wallace begins the first GOP debate with the question, “Mr. Trump, are you a Clinton plant, sent to destroy the Republican Party from within?”