Donald Trump, a Republican presidential contender, called Thursday for the head of the Club for Growth to step down, accusing him of trying to shake him down weeks before his campaign launch.
The Trump campaign outlined the accusations in an afternoon email blast, saying David McIntosh, the group’s president, had a 30-minute meeting with Mr. Trump in late May and followed up the visit with a written request asking the New York real estate mogul to consider contributing $1 million to the influential anti-spending group.
Mr. Trump did not give money, and Mr. McIntosh showered him with criticism this week after he entered the Republican nomination race. He said Mr. Trump “should not be taken seriously” and “many of his propositions make him better suited to take on Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.”
The Trump camp countered Thursday that Mr. McIntosh should resign.
“I am appalled by Mr. McIntosh’s shameless pandering and blatant shakedown attempt, exposing him and the Club for Growth as a fraud,” Mr. Trump said in a press release.
Corey Lewandowki of the Trump campaign called the Club for Growth “the worst of the two-faced hypocrisy of Washington.”
Doug Sachtleben, a spokesman for the Club for Growth, brushed off Mr. Trump’s accusations as a “childish attack” and said it shows “what a joke his candidacy is.”
“Trump asked for a meeting with the Club and expressed interest in donating to our organization, so of course we responded,” Mr. Sachtleben said. “But obviously he had something else in mind, most likely getting the Club to stop pointing out his liberal positions on national health care, massive tax increases and trade protectionism, which we did when he started his silly political roadshow back in 2011. If Donald Trump wants to pretend to be a candidate for president, then he should get some thicker skin.”
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