Former Clinton strategist Mark Penn has vocally defended President Donald Trump this year.
In a piece published Monday, the Daily Beast traces the two men’s relationship all the way back to three decades before Trump ascended to the presidency, when he was trying to build a massive development dubbed Trump City on the Upper West Side in New York City.
According to the Daily Beast local activists opposed the development, 150-story commercial and residential project. So Trump turned to the polling firm Penn & Schoen Associates, headed my Mark Penn.
The Beast notes that in his multiple media appearances and platforms—during which he often defends Trump—Penn is always identified through his association with the Clintons. In a statement, Penn denied that his financial links to Trump have anything to do with his support.
“Thirty years ago, [my partner] Doug Schoen brought in Trump and the Trump organization as a minor client to a firm neither of us has been associated with for nearly a decade. I never met his then client, Donald Trump, and, as I recall, Schoen had trouble collecting payment for his work, and had to settle largely for shuttle tickets that then became worthless,” Penn said.
“Resurfacing this old news is a off-base attempt to find some irrelevant link from 30 years ago to work I didn’t do for a firm I’m no longer with, and that is not in any way related to my positions against independent counsels or as a moderate Democrat that have been consistent for over 40 years.”
But “Trump City” wasn’t the only link between the firm and Donald Trump. In 1988, they also did a survey testing Trump’s name recognition among Republican voters, finding it very high.