Early last week Donald Trump drew big-time attention to himself once again when he broke the “urgent” news that he was going to make a major announcement very soon. Buy Wednesday night press speculation reached a fever pitch about it and several news organizations reported confirmation that “The Donald” was going to endorse the candidacy of Newt Gingrich in the Republican Party presidential primary race.
All of it was typical Donald Trump bombastic blustering bullshit though. There is no doubt in my mind that he deliberately leaked a fib to the news media for the sole purpose of engendering even more attention to himself together with shock and surprise the next morning when he revealed that his endorsement would actually go to Mitt Romney.
Only a few short weeks ago, “The Donald” was shocked, surprised and miffed over Romney’s snub, when he turned down an invitation to participate in a Trump moderated debate in Iowa. He mocked Romney’s business credentials then, but boasted that: "He [Romney] talked to me about it and I probably could have gotten him to do it if I wanted to," as if he really didn’t want to.
A few days later, Trump was forced to cancel that event when it became clear that only two candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, had agreed to show up. Trump was so incensed after that pathetic debacle that he publicly renounced his membership in the Republican Party and became a registered Independent. Today, Donald Trump is not even a Republican.
So why endorse Mitt Romney now; why endorse any Republican for that matter; and especially why not Newt Gingrich, his purported bosom buddy? Remember, Trump was singing the highest praises for his pal Gingrich just weeks ago. “Newt is a great guy,” and “a member of my club,” he gushed.
Mitt Romney had just soundly trounced Gingrich in the Florida primary the day before Trump’s urgent revelation to the press about a forthcoming major announcement. Romney was also far ahead in the Nevada polls. Now the handwriting was on the wall. Romney would most likely be the Republican nominee. Clearly, Trump, who prides himself as being a winner, had waited on that result until he knew he had a sure thing before going all in on Mitt Romney and making his endorsement known.
But when the actual endorsement event occurred on Thursday at a scheduled and hyped-up press conference in Trump’s lavish Las Vegas hotel and casino, it was an empty anti-climactic flop. By now, everyone – the press, the public, even Mitt Romney -- knows that Donald Trump is not sincere. They know that none of it was done for the benefit of Mitt Romney; all of it was done for Donald Trump.
So there wasn’t much excitement and little applause at the Trump casino as Romney with his wife standing next to him shook hands tepidly with “The Donald” and acknowledged the nod. "There are some things that you just can't imagine in your life," Romney managed to say. "This is one of them."
Trump said earlier that he was “impressed” by Romney’s debate performances of late, and now believes that he can easily beat President Obama. "Mitt is tough. He's smart. He's sharp. He's not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country that we all love,… go out and get 'em." Trump cheered from his perch.
It all looked rather suspiciously like the final episode of one of his “Apprentice” TV reality shows. Donald Trump – kingmaker. Mitt Romney – Apprentice.
And that was it. The entire production was over in less than six minutes; Romney took no questions from reporters, then quickly left the building by a back door, as if he was embarrassed by it all, leaving Trump on his own to tell reporters how much he thinks his endorsement will help Romney.
Trump crowed that he has "a lot of good relationships with a lot of groups." "If you look at the tea party; if you look at the Christian coalition; if you look at a lot of different groups, I have very, very strong relationships with them," he bragged.
He pointedly ignored a cogent question about whether Romney had once expressed concerns about Trump challenging the validity of President Obama's birth certificate last year. He’s done a lot of dopey things like that over the years. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t want to talk about them.
Romney’s senior campaign advisor said of the endorsement: “You haven’t seen us turn down any endorsements yet… Hopefully [Trump] can help raise money and it ain’t like he’s camera shy.” Trump might be willing to do some grassroots campaigning among so-called “hyper-conservatives.”
Maybe so; maybe the Trump factor is great for attracting the hyper-conservatives.
But a Fox News poll last month revealed that Trump actually might do Romney more harm than good. Trump’s endorsement would make 27% of respondents less likely to support Romney, and only 10% more likely to vote for him. Most voters say it makes no difference to them at all. And the Democratic National Committee was happy to mock the Romney-Trump alliance with a video pointing out the fact that "They both like firing people.”
This is one of the problems in my way of thinking with the current Republican Party. The average American voter and working stiff often associates the GOP, especially the right wing elements of it, with insincere self-aggrandizing rich guys like Donald Trump, and his endorsement of Romney has the overall effect of confirming that impression.
“The Donald” has worn out his welcome with a lot of people, me included, in just the last year. How many times has this man teased us with the idea of a Republican presidential run, only to demonstrate that it’s bullshit again and again? The last time it was all a publicity stunt to gain attention for his TV show. He was insincere then and he’s insincere now. We all know it, especially Mitt Romney.
Amazingly, even now, Donald Trump is still refusing to rule out the possibility of a third-party run for president. "Certainly if Mitt gets the nomination and he runs, I wouldn't be running again… If for some reason something happens, then it’s open season," he told Fox News.
Perhaps because he’s endorsed Mitt Romney, he’ll get another chance.
I hope not.