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South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley will appoint Sen. Jim DeMint's successor. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley will appoint Sen. Jim DeMint's successor. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley made headlines for her not-so-subtle swipes at Donald Trump in her Republican response to the State of the Union. But in the past, Haley was a recipient of the billionaire’s cash.  

In her response, Haley said, “some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true.” Haley added often the best thing “is turn down the volume.”  

In response, Trump said on Fox News that Haley had previously asked  for “a hell of a lot of money in campaign contributions.”  

While calls and emails to both Trump and Haley’s offices did not receive a response, Trump did in fact give Haley a good chunk of change. According to a search of contributors on the South Carolina State Ethics Commission’s website, Trump gave Haley $1,000 in July 2010 and $2,500 two months later. In October 2011, not even one year into her governorship, Trump donated another $3,500 to Haley.  

Furthermore, in 2012, The State newspaper in South Carolina reported  that Trump had donated to a 527 group called the Movement Fund that is supportive of Haley and had tax-exempt status. According the organization’s first quarter report in 2012, Trump gave $5,000 to the Movement Fund. The Movement Fund’s custodian of records, Kurt Grindstaff, also worked as treasurer for both of Haley’s gubernatorial bids, but did not respond to email request for comment.  

Trump’s generous contributions to Haley may explain why in 2011, when Trump was fielding a 2012 presidential run, she said  Trump was a “serious candidate.”  

Yet, Haley’s tone on Trump took a sharper turn as his 2016 candidacy has taken off. After his proposal to ban Muslims from the United States, Haley called the idea unconstitutional.  

Haley is not the only politician whom has been a beneficiary of Trump’s money who has seen their relationship sour with him. Fellow South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy was the subject of Trump’s wrath after Gowdy endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for president, despite the fact Trump donated to Gowdy in the past.  

Trump frequently says he can buy favors  from politicians, noting in the first primetime GOP debate that he told Hillary Clinton to be at his wedding. Hence when people he has donated to turn their words on him, he can possibly see them as ungrateful.  

Contact Garcia at and follow him on Twitter @EricMGarcia.

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