DOCUMENT: Celebrity

Trump Sat Out Last GOP Primary In New York

Like his kids, tycoon was tardy for Grand Old Party

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Trump Votes

APRIL 14--Donald Trump did not vote in the last GOP presidential primary in New York because, like two of his children this year, the candidate failed to timely register as a Republican, records show.

While Ivanka Trump--who has been central to her father’s get-out-the-vote campaign--complained this week that New York’s “onerous rules” were costing her and brother Eric a chance to vote for their father in Tuesday’s election, the real estate developer could have warned his children about the perils of switching parties.

According to Board of Elections records, Trump changed his party affiliation in December 2011, ditching the Republicans in favor of no party at all (he checked off a box marked “I do not wish to enroll in a party” when switching his enrollment).

On February 2, 2012, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney during an event at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas. Nobody writing about the endorsement--which came two days before the Nevada primary--noticed that Trump was not even registered as a Republican.

The billionaire subsequently returned to the GOP ranks in late-April 2012, just days before the presidential primary in New York, where Romney was joined on the Republican ballot by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

While Trump’s last-minute party switch was obviously prompted by his desire to vote in the April 24 primary, he was thwarted by rules that state, “You cannot change your enrollment and vote in the new party of your choice in the same year.”

It is unknown if Trump went to a polling place seeking to vote and got turned away.

In fact, the last time Trump was even eligible to vote in a Republican presidential primary was 1996 (though he did not vote that March). In the intervening 20 years, Trump’s party affiliation has been remarkably fluid, as TSG has previously chronicled. For instance, he was a registered Democrat when the February 2008 and March 2004 presidential primaries were held in New York, and he was enrolled in the Independence Party at the time of the March 2000 presidential primary.

When news broke this week that Ivanka and Eric Trump--who were registered independents--had waited too long to switch to the Republican Party, their father did not appear disappointed.

In a Fox News interview, Trump said of his children, “They feel very, very guilty. They feel very guilty.” He added, “But it’s fine. I mean, I understand that.” (2 pages)