In his last documented political act, self-made billionaire and two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot wrote out two checks to President Trump’s re-election campaign before succumbing to his battle with leukemia at the age of 89, according to a report.
Perot, who ran for president as a third-party candidate in 1992 and 1996, is largely credited with providing a road map for Trump’s presidential campaign.
Like Trump, Perot ran as a billionaire populist against the Republican establishment. His focus on the North American Free Trade Agreement – rather than the national debt – and his use of cable news for laying out his agenda were both familiar elements of Trump’s campaign.
As Democratic strategist James Carville put it in a 2016 podcast: “If Donald Trump is the of Jesus of the disenchanted, displaced non-college white voter, then Perot was the John the Baptist of that sort of movement.”
ROSS PEROT ECHOED POPULIST SENTIMENTS 25 YEARS BEFORE RISE OF TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN SAYS
In 2000, Trump briefly considered running for president in Perot’s Reform Party before scrapping the idea. Perot’s model, of running as a third-party candidate in a two-party political system, taught Trump that he needed to run as a Republican in 2016 – a lesson that ultimately led to his victory.
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In March, Perot wrote two checks of the maximum legal limit to Trump’s reelection campaign, including next year’s general election, the Boston Globe reported.