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Donald Trump swung hard at chief rival Jeb Bush on Tuesday, painting him as beholden to the big money men funding his presidential campaign.
The real estate mogul said the former Florida governor, who spent the weekend raising money in the Hamptons, could not be independent from the influence of cash.
“He will do whatever they want him to, and a lot of those things are not good for the country,” Trump said.
“They control Bush, 100 percent control him,” Trump said Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “He will do whatever they want him to, and a lot of those things are not good for the country.”
Bush on Saturday addressed a group of chief executives and hedge fund managers — half of whom were Democrats — and walked away with a bundle of cash for his Republican presidential bid.
“I know all of those guys … these are people that when they give money, they expect a lot in return, and they are Wall Street guys, mostly, and you have insurance guys, too … they want to make money,” Trump told Ingraham. “I probably know everybody at the party.”
Trump said he does not need money from Bush’s donors — “friends of mine and enemies of mine” — to run a campaign.
“I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m not asking for any money. People send me money, and it’s cute,” he said. “I’m just going to do what’s good to make our country great again.”
The contrast between Bush’s fundraising and Trump’s self-financed campaign helps the real estate mogul make the case that he would have a free hand to deal with issues like China. With that country’s economy headed for turbulence, Trump compared the economic environment to scooping up undervalued assets in a down market.
“If we’re smart — don’t forget we lose hundreds of billions of dollars to China. If we’re smart, we can turn that [situation] to our advantage,” Trump said.
“It can be good for us. It can also be a catastrophe,” he said. “If we’re smart — don’t forget we lose hundreds of billions of dollars to China. If we’re smart, we can turn that to our advantage. … That’s what I do in life. I pick up the pieces.”
Trump has estimated his personal net worth at more than $10 billion. Bloomberg News analyzed Trump’s 92-page financial disclosure report and pegged the true value at about $2.9 billion. Trump dismissed that estimate.
“I get the worst publicity from Bloomberg for whatever reason,” he said.
Trump also said he is not making any special preparations for the first Republican primary debate scheduled for Aug. 6 in Cleveland. Will he be “presidential” on stage with his opponents? Will he launch zingers?
Trump said it all depends on how his rivals treat him.
“I’ve never debated before. I’m not a debater,” the GOP frontrunner told Ingraham. “I’ve got to be myself. I haven’t hired coaches.”