White House Political Director Frank J. Donatelli alerted Chief of Staff Howard Baker about the story. “It would be most helpful if you would place a phone call to Don Trump today,” Donatelli wrote in a memo. “He has a large ego and would be responsive to your call.” He underlined the word “large” before ego.
Donatelli told Baker, the former Senate Majority Leader, to make the case to the New York developer that Republican economic policies had made possible the previous 60 months of growth. But the real message of the call to Trump was this: “If he chooses to raise Democratic funds, do it for the individual candidates and not for the entire party.” Ultimately, Trump decided not to chair the event…
Trump was a registered Republican, but he maxed out to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and contributed to Walter Mondale ahead of 1984. (Covering his bases, Trump also cut a $1,000 check to Reagan’s reelection campaign.)
In that fall of 1987, Trump was flirting with a potential run for president – even flying to New Hampshire to fan speculation. He spent about $100,000 to run full-page ads in several national newspapers, including The Post, with a critique of the Reagan foreign policy. “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure,” Trump said in the ad, which was written as an open letter.