If you watched the CNN debate this past Wednesday, then you witnessed the notorious Trump vs. Bush casino spat.
It started when moderator Jake Tapper noted a portion of Donald Trump's popularity relies on the fact that he cannot be bought by lobbyists. This, Tapper suggested, makes his GOP presidential opponents susceptible to the whims of special interest groups - particularly former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Bush's presidential campaign has raised an unprecedented $100 million so far. Trump claims this makes Bush a "puppet for his donors."
Jeb attempted to turn the tables on Trump. He stated, "The one guy that had some special interests that I know of, that tried to get me to change my views on something, that was generous and gave me money... was Donald Trump. He wanted casino gambling in Florida."
Trump's response? "I did not."
The candidates continued to banter until Trump blurted, "I promise, if I wanted it, I would've gotten it." Sweeping laughter from the crowd ensued. Here's the clip:
The exchange left many viewers wondering which candidate was telling the truth.
Here's the answer...
Trump vs. Bush: The Truth About a Casino Push in Florida
Donald Trump donated to Jeb Bush's 1998 gubernatorial campaign while he was actively lobbying to change gambling laws in Florida, CNN recently reported on Sept. 1. The real estate magnate forked over $50,000. He also held a $500-a-person fundraiser in Bush's honor at New York City's Trump Tower.
Furthermore, "The Donald" hired Mallory Horne, a former Florida state house speaker, to lobby on gambling issues on his behalf down in the Sunshine State, reported CBS News on Sept. 16. Trump then joined sides with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to push gambling laws from bingo up to full-scale casinos.
Meanwhile, a significant part of Bush's gubernatorial campaign platform was against the expansion of gambling in Florida. In fact, his position helped win him the governorship.
"I am opposed to casino gambling in this state and I am opposed whether it is on Indian property or otherwise ... The people have spoken and I support their position," Bush told The St. Petersburg Times (now The Tampa Bay Times) on June 18, 1999, referencing three failed referendums to approve casino gambling.
Eventually Trump gave up the fight, just before Bush won his campaign for governor. Many suspect he sensed defeat on the issue.
Interestingly enough, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act are currently working with the Seminole Indiana Tribe of Florida to reform the current gambling laws there, according to The Daily Beast on Sept. 18.
But Donald Trump will not be enjoying the profits of any such venture.
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- The St Petersburg Times: Trump Supports Indian Casinos