Donald Trump recently contributed $5,000 to Sen. Ted Cruz’s political action committee, but the real estate and reality TV mogul says the cash doesn’t necessarily mean he’s backing Cruz for president in 2016.
“No, it doesn’t,” Trump told FOX News today, and added: “He’s a nice guy, I get along with him, he speaks a lot at Mar-a-Lago, everybody speaks at Mar-a-Lago, they all come to Mar-a-Lago to speak … but he came in and asked whether or not to do it and it’s a PAC for certain causes, and it’s, you know, conservative causes so I did that. … No, that doesn’t really reflect that at all.”
Trump’s donation represents the maximum allowed under the law for this election cycle and reflects his increasing support for the Texas Republican, who is said to be considering a presidential run, after the rocky start of their relationship.
In an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl last August, the hotel magnate started a second round of “birtherism” by questioning Cruz’s eligibility to be president due to his Canadian birth. But Trump and Cruz have come a long way since then and seem to have become political allies over the past year.
At a Republican dinner at his Mar-a-Lago Club in February, Trump lauded the junior senator’s 21-hour filibuster over Obamacare and called him a “very special guy.” He also spoke favorably about Cruz at the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner.
“One of the reasons I like Ted Cruz so much is that he’s not controversial,” Trump said jokingly. On a serious note, he added: “[Cruz] shouldn’t be controversial because what he is doing is right. He took a stand recently, that if he had just a little backing — and Ted and I have spoken about this — from other Republicans … he would have negotiated one hell of a deal. It might not have ended Obamacare, but you would have really gotten a big chunk out of it.”
Last November, a Cruz spokeswoman even described the two men as “friends” who speak often on the phone, and said that Cruz visited Trump’s offices during a trip to New York. “Mr. Trump is a friend and the senator had some down time in NYC,” Cruz’s aide told Politico.
After supporting presidential candidate John McCain in 2008 and endorsing presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 — after flirting with a presidential run himself — Trump’s money and his support are still sought-after commodities among potential 2016 candidates.
As The Hill reports, Trump has donated more than $127,000 during this election cycle so far, including to Sens. Mitch McConnell. R-Ky., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.