Trump is mulling a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. The billionaire and potential candidate has signaled, however, that if he runs and loses in the GOP primary that he would likely make a bid for the White House as an independent.
"His full embrace of the birther issue means that he's off there in the nutty right and is now an inconsequential candidate," said Rove of Trump's penchant for raising skepticism over whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. "I'm shocked, the guy is smarter than this."
According to the top Republican strategist and Fox News contributor, making the birther issue "the centerpiece of his campaign means that he's just a joke candidate."
Rove made critical remarks about Trump's persistence in pushing the birther issue during an appearance on Fox News last month. Business Insider reported at the time on what he had to say:
You know, the troubling thing in the interview tonight was [Trump] said as time has gone on here, over the last couple of weeks, he has become more interested and more believing in the issue. You know, when he first brought it up, he said 'of course I accept that he's a citizen. He ought to just release the, release his birth certificate.' Different tone tonight. This is a mistake. It will marginalize him and he's falling into Barack Obama's trap. Barack Obama wants Republicans to fall into this trap because he knows it discredits us with the vast majority of the American people when they do.
In his more recent appearance on the network, Rove took aim at the idea that Trump could reveal his plans for 2012 on his reality show, "The Apprentice." He asserted, "The American people aren't going to be hiring him and certainly the Republicans are not going to be hiring him in the Republican primary."