The Slatest

Donald Trump Had a Private Phone Call With Bill Clinton Right Before Jumping in the Race

Thumbs up for friends in high places.

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s boisterous antics might make for light entertainment and high poll numbers, but he’s certainly been keeping one part of his political history quiet—his ties to the opposing party. Trump is already facing heat from Republicans for having given money to Democrats in the past, and especially for having donated to previous Hillary Clinton campaigns and Bill Clinton’s foundation. That old relationship with the Clintons is apparently not a defunct one, though: The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Trump and former President Clinton shared a private phone call in late May—right around the time Trump was gearing up for a potential presidential run—which has stoked conspiracy theories (and jokes) on Twitter that Trump is a Democratic plant sent to destroy the GOP.

Though Clinton’s personal office maintains that the two men had a casual chat in which the 2016 presidential race was not specifically discussed, five sources told the Post that Clinton supported Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party. Sources said Trump was candid about his political ambitions and potential interest in the presidency. From the Post:

The 42nd president listened intently and then analyzed Trump’s prospects and his desire to rouse the GOP base, the Trump allies said. The tone of the call was informal and Clinton never urged Trump to run, the four people said. Rather, they said, Clinton sounded curious about Trump’s moves toward a presidential bid and told Trump that he was striking a chord with frustrated conservatives and was a rising force on the right.

According to staff members on both sides who spoke with the Post, Clinton and Trump have had many calls over the years, in which they discussed everything from nonprofit donations to golf. The Clintons also attended Trump’s third wedding in 2005. The personal closeness between the two men is clearly at odds with Trump’s public view of the Clintons: He recently called Hillary Clinton “pretty pathetic” for her critical response to Trump’s xenophobic remarks about Mexicans, and said she was an example that “politicians are just no good.”