Prior to his death Tuesday at the age of 89, billionaire businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot contributed the maximum amount allowed to President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Records from the Federal Election Commission specifically show that on March 19 of this year, he wrote two $2,800 checks to Trump’s campaign — one for a potential 2020 primary election, and one for the 2020 general election.
While there appears to be no record of Perot having previously spoken out positively (or negatively) about the president, his clear-cut support isn’t necessarily surprising. Since his death, many have compared him to the current president over their shared ability to connect with the people.
“[H]e had the same ability as Trump to reach people,” conservative radio show Rush Limbaugh commented after Perot’s death Tuesday. “He’s one of the few, he likewise, like Trump, had established a genuine bond. … [H]e had the bond with voters back then that Trump has.”
In a widely shared op-ed for The Boston Globe, James Pindell went so far Tuesday to suggest that Perot was a direct precursor to Trump.
“Perot not only showed Trump how to run as a populist for president but also how to use cable news to build a brand, frame a nationalist agenda around opposing free trade, and, yes, how to use Mexico as a political foil,” he opined. “Politics is a process. There would be no LBJ without FDR. There wouldn’t be a Reagan revolution without Barry Goldwater. And it’s possible there wouldn’t be a Trump presidency without Perot.”
And just like with Trump, everybody thought Perot and his policy proposals were crazy. Yet virtually every single one of his predictions and warnings turned out to be right:
Ross Perot was a champion for veterans’ rights and ahead of his time on disastrous trade policies. During his campaign, he explained, in depth, how he would address our national problems and spurred serious discussion. Ross Perot was a one-of-a kind American. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/qXukirfwcL
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 9, 2019
Ross Perot died today.
When he ran for President he spoke about the “giant sucking sound’ that was the NWO sucking our jobs away for globalism.
He was Trump-like in many ways.
But he couldn’t overcome the Clintons and the Bushes and his bid failed.
Ross was right.
— robg (@reubing) July 9, 2019
I voted for Ross Perot, but we got that POS Bill Clinton and then America got NAFTA. Look at the damage that was done! Ross Perot was right back then, but it took President Trump to make it happen. Condolences to the Perot family. pic.twitter.com/jJdD51KreB
— Red Nation Rising (@RedNationRising) July 9, 2019
If you can not look at the 25 yrs
of evidence how NAFTA destroyed
American manufacturing, you
are an imbecile
Ross Perot was correct, the
Chamber of Commerce, GOP,
DNC don’t give one rats ass about
Trump was and is right !
— Franz (@Diabloojosazule) July 10, 2019
In ’04, Ross Perot wrote a letter in support of an amendment @SenSanders and Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) introduced to provide $30 million in federal funding for Gulf War Illness research. Mr. Perot was on the right side of history on NAFTA & unfettered free trade. We will miss him. pic.twitter.com/shS2mciCzS
— Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) July 9, 2019
— Tim Xeriland (@Xeriland) July 9, 2019
It’s a sad sad day My Hero Ross Perot had it right in “92”
He wanted to drain the swamp then, and alerted us of that HUGE SUCKING SOUND, we would hear, if NAFTA was signed into effect, was he right? now president Trump is reversing all that.
— Gary A. DeRusso Sr. (@DeRussoGary) July 9, 2019
God bless him. The first chance I had when I was 18 I voted for Ross Perot. Very proudly. Not only was he someone that cared about this country. But he was the first one that brought up the fact that NAFTA would destroy our country. He was right about so many things. God bless
— Starlie R Wagoner#shut the media down (@rstarlie44) July 10, 2019
The primary difference between him and Trump appears to be that he reportedly dropped out early for reasons that still remain unclear, despite reportedly polling at 38 percent at the time.
By the time he re-entered the race months later, his support had reportedly dropped by double digits. He wound up securing only 18.9 percent of the vote, versus then-Democrat nominee Bill Clinton’s 43 percent, and then-incumbent President George H.W. Bush’s 37.4 percent.
To this day, some still wonder what would have happened had he not dropped out:
In June 1992, Ross Perot was polling at 39%, ahead of both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in a 3-way race. He dropped out suddenly in July, re-entered Oct. 1, and still got 18.9% of the popular vote Nov. 3. How would he have done if he had not dropped out for 2.5 months? ?❓ pic.twitter.com/feRuHxRo2M
— Andy Bass (@AndyBassNY) July 9, 2019
One could argue that, in many respects, the current president is the manifestation of everything Perot could have been had he remained in the race and ultimately won the election.
“We do the world’s dumbest trade agreements,” he said in a televised, post-election debate in 1993 against then-Vice President Al Gore. “You go back to the agreements we’ve done all over the world, you’d be amazed that adults did them.”
He also called for using tariffs to pressure foreign governments, getting rid of NAFTA and more. And wouldn’t you know it, all of these things — and more — have since come to pass because of Trump.
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