Responding to concerns and questions of his former affiliation with the Democratic Party, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump compared himself to the nation’s 40th president, Republican Ronald Reagan.
“If you look at Ronald Reagan, and he was a Democrat, he was actually, Don, he was a Democrat with a very liberal, or at least a pretty liberal bent, and he became a Republican with a somewhat conservative — I wouldn’t say very, but he was a conservative Republican,” Trump said to CNN’s Don Lemon.
Later, Trump attempted to distance himself from 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“When Mitt Romney ran, there was a tremendous — millions of people that are Republicans and conservative Republicans and evangelicals and people that I have a great relationship with, they sat home for some reason, and they did not vote, you know that, and I’m talking about millions of people,” Trump said.
“Had they been energized and had they voted, you would have seen victory for Mitt Romney.”
Trump also answered to criticism from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who referenced Trump’s former status as a Democrat in a new campaign ad.
“He mentions that I was, at one point, a Democrat,” Trump said about Bush’s ad. “Well, in New York City, everybody was a Democrat, practically. If you run for city council, if you run for political office, whoever wins the Democratic primary is automatically — there was almost no election, because the Republicans hardly exist in New York City. Well, that’s where I was.”
Mediaite noted that Republicans made up 11.3 percent of the electorate in New York City in a tally from April 2011. The city’s mayors from 1994 to 2013 were affiliated with the Republican Party — Rudy Giuliani from 1994-2002 and Michael Bloomberg from 2002-2007, before he became an Independent.