The Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy organization, says Donald Trump’s presidential bid isn’t serious and he should be excluded from the Republican debates.
Trump asserts the group is attacking him because he turned down their recent request for a $1 million donation.
The organization, which has spent millions on recent elections to assist conservative candidates, has put out a “white paper” examining the policy positions of every major GOP candidate in the race thus far. But after Trump declared his bid Tuesday, the group declared in a statement, “There is no need to do a white paper on Donald Trump.”
“He is not a serious Republican candidate, and many of his positions make him better suited to take on Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary,” the group argued. “It would also be unfortunate if he takes away a spot at even one Republican debate.”
On Wednesday, Trump noted the group wasn’t so hard on him when they were asking him for money.
“They came up to see me very recently,” Trump told Bloomberg TV. “And they sent us a letter, I think we have it, asking for a tremendous contribution. … I was shocked by the amount of money we’re talking about.”
The billionaire businessman and reality television star produced a letter he says Club For Growth president David McIntosh sent to Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski (the man who’s now managing Trump’s campaign.)
In the letter, dated June 2, 2015, McIntosh wrote about a recent meeting in which Trump “expressed an interest in supporting the Club for Growth in its efforts to promote pro-growth, limited government policy.”
“Enclosed is a letter for Mr. Trump and a request for a $1,000,000 contribution,” McIntosh added.
Club for Growth spokesman Doug Sachtleben told Bloomberg that Trump “initiated a serious interest in donating to the Club for Growth, so we responded to him, just as we do with all potential donors.”
“But that doesn’t change the fact that the Club for Growth PAC thinks he’s an unserious candidate and would make a terrible president,” he added, “just as we publicly pointed out during his last political publicity stunt in 2011.”
In other Trump news, the Hollywood Reporter reported Wednesday that a casting company based in New York was offering actors $50 to appear as enthusiastic extras at Trump’s campaign kickoff.
“We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement,” reads an email sent by Extra Mile Casting that was obtained by the publication. “We understand this is not a traditional ‘background job,’ but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought.”
Asked by the Hollywood Reporter whether Trump paid anyone to attend his speech, Lewandowski said, “No.”
“Mr. Trump draws record crowds at almost every venue at which he is a featured speaker,” he added.“The crowds are large, often record-setting and enthusiastic, often with standing ovations.”