Donald Trump wanted Jeb Bush to negotiate gaming compact

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fans before taping an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in New York City on September 11, 2015. Photo from Twitter

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump directly lobbied lawmakers in Florida for a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe despite claiming he never wanted a casino in the Sunshine State.

Trump wanted to manage the tribe's fledgling gaming enterprise, the Associated Press reported. He met with former House Speaker John Thrasher (R) and other top lawmakers twice to push for a compact.

“The bottom line is Donald Trump was interested in casino gambling in Florida, I can tell you that for a fact,” Thrasher told the AP.

A view of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Tampa, Florida. Photo from Facebook

A compact would have required then-governor Jeb Bush to come to the table. But for his eight years in office from 1997 to 2007, the Republican leader refused to negotiate.

"I knew that Jeb had no interest in introducing casino gambling in Florida," one of Bush's former aides told the AP, explaining why the former governor never entertained a deal.

Trump's management deal with the Seminoles never materialized and the tribe eventually signed a compact in 2010 Bush's successor Charlie Crist, a Republican who switched to the Democratic party after leaving office. Key provisions of the deal expired at the end of July and < ahref=>talks continue for a possible extension.

Even without Trump's involvement, the tribe has become a gaming giant in its own right, having acquired the Hard Rock enterprise in 2007 for $965 million.

Get the Story:
Trump tells Bush he didn’t want a Florida casino, but he did (AP 9/17)
The True Story of Donald Trump’s Florida Casino Fail (The Daily Beast 9/18)

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