Politics

Donald Trump’s Friends

The unnamed Mexicans, Muslims, Israelis, farmers, doctors, and truckers who have shaped the candidate’s policies.

Donald Trump and a friend.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Disney Pixar and Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

An incomplete list of Donald Trump’s anonymous friends.

Farmer friends

“I have friends that are farmers, they can’t even farm their land, the regulations, they spend more on regulation than they do on like, how to shovel it out of the ground. So we’re gonna end all that. We’re gonna end all that.” (Rothschild, Wisconsin, April 2, 2016)

Manufacturer friends

“I have friends that are absolute great manufacturers. They make a better product than anything made in China. They can’t get product, their product into China. And when they do, they get charged a massive tax. But we don’t do that, because we don’t know what’s going on. Those days are over.” (Vandalia, Ohio, March 15, 2016)

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A doctor friend

“We have a situation right now with drugs. We don’t bid out drugs. Can you believe it? The U.S. is the largest drug buyer in the world, drugs to make you better, pharmaceuticals. And we don’t bid it out. And a friend of mine who is a doctor, great guy, came up to me and said, ‘Why don’t we? I don’t understand it.’ Well, once I found out what he was talking about, because it’s not my world, I knew exactly why. Because the pharmaceutical industry takes care of all the senators and all the congressmen, they have a strong lobby, and they don’t want to bid out drugs.” (Virginia Beach, Virginia, Feb. 24, 2016)

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A friend who is a world-class poker player

“Another great friend of mine, one of the most brilliant men you will ever meet, a phenomenal world class poker player, you wouldn’t even know it, he doesn’t do that for a living, he makes money for a living in every way. You cannot make a deal with this guy and come out on top, it’s impossible. In fact, I’m thinking about him for China, how about him negotiating with China, OK?” (Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 28, 2016)

Mexican friends

“I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent.” (Campaign statement, June 7, 2016)

Muslim friends

“I love the Muslims. I have many, many friends—people living in this building, Muslims. They’re phenomenal people.” (60 Minutes, Sept. 22, 2015)

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Jewish friends who support Obama but can’t explain why

“I have many Jewish friends that support Obama and I say, ‘Why?’ and they can’t explain why. They support him. They give him money. They give him campaign contributions. This is the worst enemy of Israel.” (Savage Nation, Feb. 18, 2015)

German friends

“I can tell you I have a lot of friends living in Germany that have always been very proud Germans, to a level that you wouldn’t believe. They would be bragging about their country. They would be talking be about their country as though there was no other place. They are members of Mar-a-Lago and different places that I have. Now those same people, some of them, are saying they’re leaving Germany, they’re moving. They never even thought of moving. Now they are thinking about moving because of the tremendous influx of people. And you know what’s happening in Germany. It’s a real problem.” (Turnberry, Scotland, June 24, 2016)

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Chinese friends

“I have friends from China. They used to come up and see me and say, ‘Oh Donald, we can’t believe—we can’t believe that we get away with this. It’s unbelievable, your people, they are incompetent.’ ” (Miami, Oct. 23, 2015)

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A friend who is a trucker

“You know, the United States has rotted infrastructure; we have roads that are crumbling. I have a friend that is a trucker, a big trucker, one of the biggest in the world actually. And he said he buys these brand new magnificent trucks that cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and he’s never had this problem before, they’re just getting destroyed because the highways are loaded up with potholes.” (Turnberry, Scotland, June 24, 2016)

A friend who didn’t clean his car before selling it

“I have a friend, he was selling a car when I was in high school. He wanted to sell the car, he didn’t clean the car. If he spent $3 in cleaning then he could have gotten another couple of 100 bucks for the car.” (Good Morning America, Aug. 12, 2008)

Sarcastic friends

“Friends of mine—I have three or four friends, great friends in the audience, and I say, ‘They’re going to come see me in the White House.’ ‘Mr. President, sir. We’re winning too much. The people of California, sir, are tired of winning. They don’t want to win so damn much, Mr. President. Please, please stop this winning. We’re not used to it as a country. We’re used to losing all the time. We can’t handle it.’ And I’m gonna say, I’m sorry, ‘We’re gonna to win win win.’ ” (Redding, California, June 3, 2016)

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An impressed friend

“You know, a friend of mine came to me, and he came to Dallas. We had 21,000 people at the Mavericks arena. And he said to me, ‘Donald, can I ask you a question? How do you do this? You’re going to speak in front of these people.’ A very big musician said, ‘Trump is the greatest in the world without a guitar.’ Meaning, without an instrument, I gotta stand up here by myself, and if I bomb, if I bomb, they will, believe me, they’ll let us know about it. But he said to me, ‘How do you do this?’ This is, by the way, one of the most successful people in the country, in the world, and he looked at this massive audience like this today and like I had a little while ago in Fresno, and he looked at this massive audience, he said, ‘How can you get up there and speak? Do you have notes?’ I say no. ‘Do you have something?’ I say, ‘No, I have like a good head, I have a good memory. I have a very good memory.’ ” (San Diego, May 27, 2016)

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Friends who are rich but not happy

“You know, I have friends that are very successful, but they’re not happy people. They’re unbelievably successful and you read about them, you know who they are. But they’re not happy people. Family is so important. Having a great family, a husband, a wife, children, is really more important.” (Columbia, South Carolina, Sept. 23, 2015)

A friend who loves the child he almost aborted

“I have a friend, and he did not want a child and his wife didn’t want a child. And they were going to abort and they didn’t do it for very complicated reasons. And now they have the child, and he’s the apple of his eye. And he said thank God, he changed also, by the way, ‘Thank God I didn’t do it.’ And I’ve seen that and I’ve seen other things. And I am pro-life.” (Good Morning America, April 19, 2011)

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Friends in places with huge immigration problems

“I have friends that live in different parts of the country, whether it’s Texas or Arizona or Los Angeles, where they have a huge problem, a huge problem.” (Orlando, Florida, Nov. 13, 2015)

A friend who vacationed in Mexico

“A friend of mine was in Mexico, they were on a vacation or something, and he overstayed for like two days, and he gets a knock on the door from the police. ‘Why are you here? You’re not supposed to be here.’ Questioning him. He is a business guy. He did not know what was going on.” (Londonderry, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016)

Friends whose families have been devastated by Alzheimer’s

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“I have so many friends whose family is devastated by Alzheimer’s. So, it’s— believe me—it’s a total priority.” (Hampton, New Hampshire, Aug. 14, 2015)

A smart friend who is naïve about politics

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.

A dying friend

“A friend of mine is dying. He’s dying. He is very sick. He is the toughest guy and he has always been like the toughest guy. Successful. He made himself successful. He just grabbed whatever the hell—he just made himself. And he is a good person, but really a tough person, and I’ve always liked him. And a champ. A winner. And he gets sick, he is very sick. And he was supposed to be dead a year ago. He’s just got good genetics or something. The doctors can’t—I even speak to the doctors, ‘how does he do it?’ And they say, ‘We can’t believe it. He is alive a year longer than he is supposed to be.’ And I call him like every couple of days. And I say, ‘How are you doing?’ ‘I’m all right.’ And I say, ‘you’re all right.’ In a way, it reminds me of our country because our country has been so abused for so long by incompetent politicians, by horrible deals, by horrible deals.” (Harrington, Delaware, April 22, 2016)

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