Few public figures evoke the visceral reaction as Donald Trump does. Since his decision not to enter the fray for the GOP Presidential nomination, he has played the role of kingmaker. But is he a kingmaker, a self-promoter or still the candidate?
He backed off confirmation that he was not a candidate last week when he reportedly refused to promise not to run as a third party candidate. Trump said that several candidates told him that they would only take part in the debate if he promised not to run for president when The Apprentice goes off the air in May. He refused, he said.
“If the Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate [to defeat President Obama],” he declared, “I am unwilling to give up my right to run as an independent candidate. I must leave all of my options open.”
Republican candidates have flocked to seek his support as he represents “millions of voters tired of America being ripped off.”
Newt Gingrich, the current Republican frontrunner, is the latest contender to visit Trump Tower to pay homage to “the Donald”, the flamboyant real estate mogul and host of America’s version of The Apprentice reality television show.
Trump’s critics, and there are many, believe that his spring flirtation with a White House run as a Republican was simply a publicity stunt to drive up ratings for the show, while the latest buzz that he might make a bid as an independent is aimed at promoting his new book.
But what is clearly true is that Mr Trump has probably had more face time with the Republican field than any other American. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann have all visited Trump Tower, as did Herman Cain before dropping out of the race, and Sarah Palin, before not getting in the race.
He does give voice to the constituency of Americans who accuse Barack Obama of undermining their standing in the world. “We have become a laughing stock, the world’s whipping boy, blamed for everything, credited for nothing, given no respect.”
A candidate…….only if it will sell his book.
A kingmaker……not likely unless he was to be king.
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***Ed Randazzo, is a nationally syndicated author. He has been a conservative activist and consultant for over 30 years and is currently the Chief News Editor of Life and Liberty Media***