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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Stay Classy

Trump's compliment to Hillary surprised people - but he's been saying nice things about her for years

The two have known each other for decades – and Trump once spoke glowingly of his rival.

AFTER A NIGHTMARE few days for the Trump campaign following the emergence of those ‘hot mic’ groping comments, it was no surprise that last night’s debate turned out to be an ill-tempered affair.

The Republican lashed out like a wounded animal early in the encounter – launching a blistering attack on Democrat Hillary Clinton and her husband, the former President.

“There’s never been anybody in the history of politics that has been so abusive to women,” Trump claimed, referring to Bill.

The two hadn’t shaken hands when they took to the stage in St Louis – setting the tone for what was a scrappy, bitter debate.

Which is why Donald Trump’s answer to one of the lighter questions of the night – the final one asked, in fact – surprised many viewers.

In spite of referring to her minutes earlier as “the Devil” and saying she had “tremendous hate in her heart”, he gave the following response when asked by an audience member to name one thing he respected about his opponent:

“I will say this about Hillary – she doesn’t quit,”

She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter. I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for. I disagree with her judgment in many cases. But she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait.

Associated Press / YouTube

The businessman’s response followed Clinton’s answer to the same question, in which she said she respected Trump’s children, who were watching from the audience.

His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.

Surprisingly classy 

The comments from Trump surprised many watching:

After all (direct accusations of being the actual Devil aside) the following quotes are more reflective of the the sort of thing he’s been saying about the Democrat in the last few months:

“Totally flawed.”


“No emotion.”

“Made a speech today using the biggest teleprompter I have ever seen.”


But, as we’re now well aware, Trump has been saying things (things about business, things about entertainment, inappropriate things, off-the-cuff things) for decades. On radio. On TV. Wherever he’s given the opportunity, essentially.

The property developer was a Democrat himself for years (he changed affiliation five times since registering as a Republican in Manhattan in 1987) so it’s hardly surprising that, during that time, he happened to say a few nice things about Bill and Hillary Clinton.

For example, back in 2008, during primary season, he said she’d make a very good president:

For his part, Obama said he’s just focused on winning the nomination although at least one member on his team said Clinton would make a good vice president. Well, I know her and she’d make a good president or good vice president.

He added:

A lot of people think a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton pairing would be a dream ticket in November, but for that to happen one of them has to be willing to serve as number two. Until that time, it’s going to be very interesting.

A year previously he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Clinton was “very talented” and had a husband “that I like very much”.

And in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback, Trump including a picture of Hillary with him and his sons. The caption describes her as “a wonderful woman who has handled pressure incredibly well”.

In the 2000s, Trump donated $4,100 to Clinton’s campaign for the Senate, according to Politifact. He also gave more than $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

The wedding 

If should be stated, though, the relationship hasn’t all been one way traffic.

Hillary and Bill were guests at Trump’s third marriage – to Melania – in Palm Beach, Florida in January 2005.

“I didn’t know him that well,” Clinton has said about their relationship more recently.

I thought it would be fun to go to his wedding because it’s always entertaining. Now that he’s running for president, it’s a little more troubling.

Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump, who are close in age and live near each other in New York, have also been friends.

‘Occasionally right’

A few months ago, the Clinton campaign put together a new web ad highlighting the various times Trump has praised the Democratic nominee.

Donald Trump: occasionally right,” the tagline at the end reads.

The Briefing / YouTube

Read: Trump lives to fight another day but he needs an awful lot of luck to become the next POTUS >

Read: “If I was President, you’d be in jail” – The key moments from Trump vs Clinton II >

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