Before joining politics, former U.S. President Donald Trump supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries.
Radio transcripts show Trump supported Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president, while supporting Rudy Giuliani as the Republican nominee. He said he had hosted fundraisers for Clinton. In a blog post, he said Clinton would make a great president or vice president. He did not, however, specify whether he would have endorsed Clinton for president had she won the Democratic nomination.
Before Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the 2016 presidential election, they appeared to be on the same side. Old interview transcripts and blog posts reveal that Trump supported Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president back in 2008.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 29, 2016
Trump's positive comments about Clinton date back many decades. He praised her candidacy for president in the lead-up to the 2008 election, though he also supported Rudy Giuliani for the Republican ticket. According to a 2008 Politico report, Trump also donated to Clinton's campaign during that year's primaries.
In 2007, he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Clinton was "very talented and "terrific."
"I know her very well. She's very talented. And she has a husband that I also like very much. I think she's going to get the nomination rather easily," he incorrectly predicted back then.
However, he did not reveal who he would support if he had to choose between Clinton and Giuliani: "They're both terrific people, and I hope they both get the nomination. And then it's going to be a very interesting race. And I always go with one person. I will make a decision."
He also shared these views in an October 2007 radio interview on Howard Stern's show. He called Clinton a good friend, said he was pushing for her nomination for the Democratic ticket, and that he had hosted fundraisers for her in the past.
However, he declined to state whether he would vote for Giuliani or Clinton. In response to a question from Stern about whether he had hosted fundraisers for Clinton, he said, "I did, yes, I'd like her to win on the Democratic side, Rudy to win on the Republican side. And then I have to make a decision. But they're both great people. I think they're both gonna win and it's gonna be interesting to see what happens."
The Wall Street Journal in 2016 uncovered transcripts of Trump's political analysis on syndicated radio feature "Trumped!" which aired between 2004 and 2008. He said in one clip from early 2008, "at least one member of [Obama's] team said Clinton would make a good vice president. Well, I know her, and she'd make a good president or a good vice president."
In a January 2008 interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, Trump said in response to a question about whether he gave money to her Senate campaign: "Well, I support Hillary. I think she's fantastic. I supported Rudy. I think Romney is doing a very good job. I mean, there's — every one of them, they are very […]"
But he again declined to share who he would vote for in the presidency.
Hillary Clinton said she'd consider naming Barack Obama as her vice-president when she gets the nomination, but she's nowhere near a shoo-in. For his part, Obama said he's just focused on winning the nomination, although at least one member of his team said Clinton would make a good vice-president. (I know Hillary and I think she'd make a great president or vice-president.)
It's interesting to see what the candidates are doing. They're playing the same kind of power games that you see in any kind of business environment.
Trump ended up endorsing Republican candidate John McCain in 2008, according to an interview with Larry King. In another interview with Wolf Blitzer, he declined to state if he would have endorsed Clinton if she had won the Democratic nomination. He said:
Blitzer: If Hillary Clinton had been the Democratic nominee, as opposed to Barack Obama, would you have endorsed her or John McCain?
Trump: Well, I would rather not say, because I don't have to worry about that. But Hillary's a great friend of mine. Her husband is a great friend of mine. They're fantastic people. I mean, they're -- you know, the thing, they get a bad knock. She's a very nice woman. People think, tough, tough. And I guess she's tough, but she's a very nice woman. And he's a very nice guy. We know all about the smarts and how smart they are, and all, but they are good people.
While Trump indeed supported Clinton's nomination for the Democratic ticket, and repeatedly said he thought she would be a good president, he also declined to state who his final vote would go to. However, the nominations went to Obama and McCain and he endorsed McCain, not revealing whether he would have endorsed Clinton if she won the Democratic nomination. We thus rate this claim as True.
Allen, Mike. "Trump Endorses McCain on Larry King." POLITICO, 17 Sept. 2008, https://www.politico.com/story/2008/09/trump-endorses-mccain-on-larry-king-013558. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
Golshan, Tara. "Donald Trump Has Supported Hillary Clinton for Longer than He's Opposed Her." Vox, 16 Aug. 2016, https://www.vox.com/2016/8/16/12452806/trump-praise-hillary-clinton-history. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
Kaczynski, Andrew. "Donald Trump Once Blogged That Hillary Clinton Would Make A Great President." BuzzFeed News, 29 Dec. 2015, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/andrewkaczynski/donald-trump-once-blogged-that-hillary-clinton-would-make-a. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
Kaczynski, Andrew. "Trump In 2008 Interview: 'I Support Hillary, I Think She's Fantastic.'" BuzzFeed News, 15 Aug. 2016, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/andrewkaczynski/trump-in-2008-interview-i-support-hillary-i-think-shes-fanta. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
Kaczynski, Andrew. "Why Did Trump Endorse McCain? He Wanted Clinton As Obama's VP In 2008." BuzzFeed News, 9 July 2015, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/andrewkaczynski/why-did-trump-endorse-mccain-he-wanted-clinton-as-obamas-vp. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
McDermott, Nathan and Andrew Kaczynski. "In 2007 Radio Hit, Trump Said He Wanted Friend Hillary To Be The Democratic Nominee." BuzzFeed News, 12 Aug. 2016, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/andrewkaczynski/in-2007-radio-hit-trump-said-he-wanted-friend-hillary-to-be. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
Rothfeld, Michael, and Mark Maremont. "Donald Trump Said Hillary Clinton Would 'Make a Good President' in 2008." Wall Street Journal, 12 July 2016. www.wsj.com, http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-said-hillary-clinton-would-make-a-good-president-in-2008-1468281714. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
Scott, Eugene. "Donald Trump in 2008: Hillary Clinton Would 'make a Good President' | CNN Politics." CNN, 12 July 2016, https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/12/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-good-president/index.html. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.
"The Race for Vice-President." The Trump Blog. 17 Feb. 2010, https://web.archive.org/web/20100217214811/http://www.trumpuniversity.com/blog/post/2008/03/the-race-for-vicepresident.cfm. Accessed 11 Sept. 2023.