Ross Perot has been described as a political forerunner to Donald Trump, the billionaire with populist appeal who railed against trade agreements and captured support among people not normally engaged in politics.
But Donald Trump didn’t see the comparisons.
With the death of the former presidential candidate this week, many have compared Ross Perot’s political stances to those of Donald Trump. The National Review said in a memorial for Perot that he was the forerunner to Trump, even though the two actually clashed when it comes to politics.
“And of course, Perot now looks like the Morning Star of Trumpism. Running into the 2000 campaign, Perot fought with Donald Trump and Pat Buchanan over the remnants of the Reform party that Perot had created in 1996,” the report noted.
The report went on to note that Trump captured the same “secular, nationalist voters” that made up Ross Perot’s base, though Trump was also able to appeal to all factions of the Republican Party as well.
“Of its billionaire populists, America chose the reality-TV show star and New York real-estate figure over the Texas naval veteran and entrepreneur,” the report added.
Trump himself bristled against these comparisons. In a 2015 tweet, just a few weeks before he officially entered the presidential race, Trump responded to a person who asked if he was “another Ross Perot.”
The real estate mogul had a particularly Trumpian response.
“Bigger, better, stronger and richer!” he wrote.
There is some disagreement on the richer part of that statement. Forbes noted that Ross Perot had a net worth of $4.1 billion, largely through selling his company, Electronic Data Systems, to IBM in 1986 for $1.5 billion. He later sold his computer services company, Perot Systems, to Dell Computer in 2009 for $3.9 billion.
“If Trump is the Jesus of blue-collar populism, then Ross Perot was its John the Baptist.” https://t.co/EhGXcDiVYi
— Michael P. Ventura (@mpventura) July 9, 2019
That put Ross Perot at the No. 172 spot on the Forbes 400, the list of the richest people in America. Donald Trump was listed at No. 259 with an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion.
Perot’s death has brought an outpouring of condolences from across the political world, with people from all ends of the spectrum remembering the iconic figure and the influence he had on American politics. That includes George W. Bush, whose father lost the 1992 presidential election in part because of the votes that Perot siphoned out of his base.
As The Hill noted, the younger Bush released a statement calling Perot a “strong patriot.”
“Ross Perot epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit and the American creed,” Bush said in a statement. “He gave selflessly of his time and resources to help others in our community, across our country, and around the world.”
Donald Trump had not yet released a statement on Ross Perot’s passing.