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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman September 15, 2015

Did Donald Trump support the Wall Street bailout as anti-tax Club for Growth says?

The Club for Growth, an anti-tax group, portrays Donald Trump as a liberal in a new TV ad.

"Which presidential candidate supports higher taxes, national health care and the Wall Street bailout?" asks the narrator in the Sept. 15 ad in Iowa as it shows photos of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. "It's Donald Trump."

The ad then shows a clip of Trump saying in 2004: "In many cases I probably identify more as a Democrat."

We have already fact-checked Trump’s statements on taxes (he’s supported increases), health care (he’s had different views over the years) and an attack about his party affiliation (he was once a Democrat). Here, we will fact-check if he supported the Wall Street bailout.

Trump on the bailout

In October 2008, Congress created a $700 billion emergency bailout fund called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP,  to rescue banks in response to the subprime mortgage crisis.

President George W. Bush pressed for passage, and it also drew the support of GOP presidential nominee John McCain and the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama.

The Club for Growth cited three statements by Trump in support of the bailout. However, the ad omits that he expressed some skepticism about whether it would work.

On Sept. 30, 2008, CNN’s Kiran Chetry asked Trump about the bailout days before its final passage. The ad includes this segment of that interview:

Chetry: "Do you think that this bailout plan needs to pass in some way, shape or form for things to stabilize?"

Trump replied: "Well, I think it would be better if it passed."

But the ad omits the rest of Trump’s statement in which he expressed some doubt about the bailout:  

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"I'm not sure that it's going to work. You know, it is trial and error. This is very complicated. This is more complicated than sending rockets to the moon.

"Nobody really knows what impact it's going to have. Maybe it works, and maybe it doesn't. But certainly it is worth a shot. I don't love the idea that the government's buying back all the bad loans. How about some of the good loans? You know? I don't like the idea that the government, frankly, is going to be negotiating with people to sell those loans, because maybe we'd be better off having the best bankers in the world do that.

"But I think overall, it's a probable positive, other than you have to control the price of oil. Because if you don't, whatever happens with the bailout, if you want to call it the bailout, whatever happens with the bailout, is will have no impact, no positive impact."

On Larry King Live on April 15, 2009, King asked Trump his opinion of Obama and Trump turned to the bailout in part of his answer:

"I do agree with what they're doing with the banks. Whether they fund them or nationalize them, it doesn't matter, but you have to keep the banks going," Trump said.

On Feb. 18, 2009, Trump talked about the bank bailout on David Letterman:

"The one thing is, the government came in and intelligently put money into the banks, so that if you have your money in CDs or whatever in the banks, you’re not going to lose your money at least."

In response to the ad, Trump tweeted: "Little respected Club for Growth asked me for $1,000,000 -- I said ‘NO’. Now they are spending lobbyist and special interest money on ads!"

Trump’s charge relates to a June 2 letter from Club for Growth president David McIntosh to Trump asking him to contribute $1 million to the group. Trump then issued a press release saying that the group was trying to shake him down.

Club for Growth spokesman Doug Sachtleben told PolitiFact that Trump had asked for the meeting and was interested in donating to the group.

Our ruling

A Club for Growth TV ad states that Trump supports the Wall Street bailout. Trump made multiple statements in support of TARP, the bailout of the banks, in late 2008 and 2009.

However, the ad omits that he raised concern that the banks had received billions and were not loaning them out. Overall, we rate this claim Mostly True.

Our Sources

Club for Growth, "Politician" TV ad and backup, Sept. 15, 2015

Donald Trump, Tweet, Sept. 15, 2015

Donald Trump press release, "Donald Trump exposes Club for Growth’s shakedown attempt," June 18, 2015

CNN Transcript, Donald Trump and his opinion on the economy, Sept. 30, 2008

Larry King Live, Interview with Donald Trump, April 15, 2009

David Letterman, Interview with Donald Trump, Feb. 18, 2009

Iowa Statesman, "Trump says Club for Growth attempted ‘shakedown,’" June 18, 2015

PolitiFact, "Did Donald Trump propose the biggest tax hike in history as Jeb Bush says?" Sept. 2, 2015

PolitiFact, "Donald Trump wants to replace Obamacare for single-payer system Wisconsin Congressman says," Sept. 11, 2015

PolitiFact, "Bush says Trump was a Democrat longer than a Republican ‘in the last decade,’" Aug. 24, 2015

Interview, Hope Hicks, Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman, Sept. 15, 2015

Interview, Doug Sachtleben, Club for Growth spokesman, Sept. 15, 2015


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