back to top
Politics

Donald Trump Lavished Praise On Teamsters Boss In 2000

"Let me tell you this: Unions still have a place in American society. In fact, with the globalization craze in full heat, unions are about the only political force reminding us to remember the American working family."

Posted on

Part of Donald Trump's success in the Republican presidential primary is his appeal to working-class white voters. As it turns out, Trump has long advocated for organized labor to have a seat at the table.

In his 2000 political manifesto, Trump praised Teamsters boss Jim Hoffa at length, saying he'd call on him as president to help solve America's problems.

"Another person I'd call on has a familiar name: Hoffa. That's Jim Hoffa, the new president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters," Trump wrote in his book The America We Deserve, which came out as Trump was flirting with a presidential run on the Reform Party ticket.

"He has all of his old man's good qualities — toughness, fairness, and an unbelievable talent for perseverance — with none of the bad," continued Trump. "Before he moved to the top of the union line he was a street-smart labor lawyer. His knees don't jerk, and if anyone knows how to bring the Teamsters back to their rightful place at the table, Jim is that man."

Trump noted at the time that conservatives would not be comfortable with his embrace of unions.

"Some of my conservative friends are frowning," Trump wrote. "Is Trump a union man? Let me tell you this: Unions still have a place in American society. In fact, with the globalization craze in full heat, unions are about the only political force reminding us to remember the American working family. Does that make me an America First-er? When it comes to protecting the jobs of American families, I'll gladly step to the front of that line. And this is no cheap stance on my part. I've had innumerable requests to do business overseas. Before I make any decision, I always check to see how it will impact American wage earners. This has cost me plenty, but when I see American companies put profit before patriotism, it makes me ill."

Last year, the New York Times reported that the Teamsters were meeting with Trump.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.