WASHINGTON -- Longtime religious conservative advocate Ralph Reed is denying reports that he has talked to Republican real estate mogul Donald Trump about heading his 2012 presidential campaign.
In an email to The Huffington Post, Reed, who rose to fame as head of the Christian Coalition only to be tripped up in a scandal over his association with disgrace lobbyist Jack Abramoff, said he has no designs of getting involved in the next White House race.
“Because of my involvement with Faith and Freedom Coalition, I do not plan to work on a presidential campaign in 2012,” he said.
The denial, which doesn't necessarily rule out future involvement in the upcoming race, comes on the heels of a story on the Daily Beast, which reported that Reed was “quietly interviewed” for the campaign manager position on a yet-to-be-declared Trump presidential run. Reed has talked to Trump recently, as the reality television star noted in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody. But the conversation was, Reed stressed, far from a formal job interview.
All of which is not to take away from the other thrust of the Daily Beast story: Trump is actually taking concrete steps to make a White House run. The billionaire has flirted with launching campaigns in the past, but this go-around has more of a legitimate veneer than the others. On Monday, Politico also reported that Trump had interviewed “at least two people for a campaign manager position.” And while the publication added that Trump had “spoken to figures in the evangelical community such as Ralph Reed and Tony Perkins,” it did not explicitly report that Reed had been interviewed for the top post.
Still, the conversations are a sign of increased seriousness on Trump's behalf. As a GOP operative, who has talked to Trump about his political aspirations, noted: “Based on my conversation with him, I don’t think there is any ambiguity at all that he is running. Now the question is, can he get a gold-plated political team around him?”