Donald Trump continues his birther-fueled media blitz with a visit to the Wall Street Journal, where he gave a lengthy interview covering such topics as the rebellion in Libya, trade troubles with China, and the possibility that he will make an independent presidential run in 2012 if he loses the GOP nomination.
There has been much speculation that Trump's 2012 ambitions are nothing more than a way to drum up publicity for his NBC television show, "The Celebrity Apprentice." Not so, insists Trump: "I don't need to do this for ratings on the Apprentice. This is too important."
Trump's fast rise among GOP voters can largely be attributed to his frenzied pushing of the birther conspiracy. The White House has, predictably, brushed aside Trump as an irrelevant candidate.
Most worrisome for Republicans, however, is if Trump follows through on his threats to run as an independent candidate: "I think the Republicans are very concerned that I [may] run as an independent... The concern is if I don't win [the GOP primary] will I run as an independent, and I think the answer is probably yes."
Trump would not be the subtlest campaigner. When the WSJ turned the subject to foreign affairs, such as the U.S. intervention in the Libyan civil war and trade relations with China, he gave characteristically blunt answers:
As for foreign policy, Mr. Trump said he is "only interested in Libya if we take the oil," and that if he were President, "I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take over the oil." He remains sharply critical of the Chinese, asserting that as President, "I would tell China that you're either going to shape up, or I'm going to tax you at 25% for all the products you send into this country."
A new CNN national poll has Trump tied for first place with Mike Huckabee in the race to the 2012 Republican nomination, but HuffPost's Mark Blumenthal questions whether Trump's GOP support in the primary is as strong as recent polls suggest. Probably not, Blumenthal concludes.
"The Celebrity Apprentice" ends in June, which is when Trump claims he'll make a final decision on whether or not to run. If he declared now he would have to give up his show under campaign finance laws.