Donald Trump Spoke With Bill Clinton Before Launching Presidential Campaign

Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton had an “informal” telephone conversation weeks before the real estate mogul announced he would run as a Republican for president of the United States, associates for both men told the Washington Post.

The call took place in late May of 2015, people from both camps said. Clinton reportedly urged Trump — who was mulling over running for office — to “play a larger role in the Republican Party.” The 42nd president also told Trump that he was “striking a chord with frustrated conservatives and was a rising force on the right,” four Trump allies who spoke on the condition of anonymity added.

However, Trump was not urged to actually run for president by the husband to current Democratic Party nominee for president, Hillary Clinton.

“Mr. Trump reached out to President Clinton a few times. President Clinton returned his call in late May,” a Clinton employee told the Washington Post. “While we don’t make it a practice to discuss the president’s private conversations, we can tell you that the presidential race was not discussed.”

One adviser for Trump said that he took the call with Bill Clinton while inside his Trump Tower office in New York City, but did not provide specifics on how the call was arranged.

The call was described as sensitive because of both men talking politics, but also “one of many” calls that Trump and Bill Clinton have had over the years. The topics of their prior calls, per the four Trump allies, was usually golf or donations to the Clinton Foundation.

This report comes hours before Trump takes the stage at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, to face Hillary Clinton for the second presidential debate. It’s expected that the recently leaked audio of Trump making lewd remarks about women will be a major talking point.

The audio, captured by a hot microphone prior to a 2005 appearance on Access Hollywood, featured Trump and then host Billy Bush speaking of Trump’s sexual exploits. Trump, who was a few months removed from getting married to Melania Knauss, is heard saying he tried — and failed — to have sex with a married woman.

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women], I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

“Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”

Shortly after the audio leaked, Trump took to all of his social media accounts to issue a statement. He said he regrets what he said on the now 11-year-old audio and that it does not reflect who he is. However, toward the end of his statement, Trump deflected his statement from his words to Bill Clinton’s actions.

Bill Clinton, infamous for his highly-publicized affair with Monica Lewinsky, and various other alleged cases of adultery and rape became the focus of Trump’s statement.

“I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between words and actions,” Trump said in an apologetic statement. “Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.”

Since the statement, Trump has shared several statements from women who have claimed to have either had alleged sexual relations with Bill Clinton or were allegedly raped.

Trump retweeted several statements from Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Bill Clinton in 1999 of raping her in April 1978.

A report from the New York Times earlier today signaled that Bill Clinton would become a topic of discussion in tonight’s debate. Earlier this week, however, Trump told the New York Post he wouldn’t mention Bill Clinton’s past during the debate.

[Featured Photo by Rick Odell/Getty Images]