Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is demanding that Club for Growth president David McIntosh resign his position: Before McIntosh criticized Trump’s candidacy for the White House, he begged Trump for a million dollars.
McIntosh, Trump charges, dismissed him as “not a serious candidate” after Trump declined to donate $1 million to his group.
“I am appalled by Mr. McIntosh’s shameless pandering and blatant shakedown attempt, exposing him and the Club for Growth as a fraud,” Trump said in a statement on Thursday.
After Trump announced his presidential run, McIntosh said Trump should be excluded from GOP primary debates: “He is not a serious Republican candidate, and many of his positions make him better suited to take on Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.”
According to Trump, McIntosh lashed out at him publicly after requesting a significant donation.
“They came up to see me very recently. And they sent us a letter, I think we have it, asking for a tremendous contribution. I was shocked by the amount of money we’re talking about,” Trump told Bloomberg News.
Breitbart News obtained a copy of the letter McIntosh sent Trump a letter on June 2, just weeks before McIntosh ripped Trump:
I very much enjoyed our recent meeting in New York. While we don’t see eye to eye on every issue, it’s good to know there is some common ground between us.
The Club For Growth is committed to promoting pro-growth, limited government policies, including: lower taxes, free trade, and doing away with harmful government regulations that are preventing businesses from creating jobs and stimulating our economy. As we both know, it is business owners who create jobs — not the government.
To that end, Club For Growth is actively researching candidates who share these fundamental American ideals and are willing to fight for them. Once the Club identifies a potential future champion of economic freedom, it polls to determine if a path to victory exists.
If the Club is confident in the character of the candidate and the possibility of victory, then the Club’s PAC endorses the candidate and plays a vital role in helping him/her to Congress.
When we met, you expressed interest in helping to fund the Club For Growth’s efforts to fight for economic freedom.
That is why I am hoping you will consider making a most generous contribution of $1 million to the Club for Growth.
This contribution would have a dramatically positive impact on the Club’s ability to identify future free enterprise champions. I hope that I can count on your support.
David McIntosh [Emphasis in original.]
Club for Growth reiterated that while they’re happy to potentially take Trump’s money, they will also announce that he would be a “terrible” president.
“Donald Trump initiated a serious interest in donating to the Club for Growth, so we responded to him, just as we do with all potential donors,” spokesman Doug Sachtleben told Breitbart News in response to Trump’s call for McIntosh’s resignation. “But that doesn’t change the fact that the Club for Growth PAC thinks he’s an unserious candidate and would make a terrible president, just as we publicly pointed out during his last political publicity stunt in 2011.”
Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski harshly criticized the conservative group for its apparent about-face, saying: “The Club for Growth is the worst of the two-faced hypocrisy of Washington.”
Trump and his team have a point, and it’s not like the Club for Growth has the best track record of conservatism. They backed Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in his election—someone who has by all accounts turned out to be a disaster in Washington—and have worked unsuccessfully to primary some conservatives like Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who’s been one of the biggest advocates for conservatism in Washington.
The latest questionable move by the Club for Growth is that they published a white paper that praised Jeb Bush’s record when he was Florida’s governor. The Club also sat on the sidelines while the entire permanent political class pushed the Republican Party to embrace amnesty for illegal aliens, and this Congress has aggressively pushed for Obamatrade.
But Sachtleben has knuckled down.
“Donald Trump’s childish attack on the Club for Growth shows what a joke his candidacy is. Trump asked for a meeting with the Club, and expressed interest in donating to our organization, so of course we responded,” he said in a statment to Breitbart News. “But obviously he had something else in mind, most likely getting us to stop pointing out his liberal positions on national health care, massive tax increases, and trade protectionism, which we did when he started his silly political roadshow back in 2011. If Donald Trump wants to pretend to be a candidate for president, then he should get some thicker skin.”