Well, America, it seems you won't have reality-teevee faux-candidate for President to kick around anymore. Today was apparently the day that the Donald had to decide if he was going to step up and defend America's interests by yelling profanities at the Chinese over and over again until their regime collapsed, or re-up for another season of The Apprentice and continue to cash NBC's checks. Hmmm. I wonder which way he's going to go on this!
Let's go to his statement:
"After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency.
This is good news for Salon's Steve Kornacki, who will keep his $184.27, having staked it on a bet that Trump's candidacy would never come to pass.
Trump's campaign peaked quickly and then subsequently collapsed after he became known as the Candidate Of Birthers, who glommed onto his quasi-campaign early and inspired Trump to become the latest, greatest loon to take on the issue. Trump had claimed, at one point, that he had sent "investigators" to Hawaii to uncover the truth, but then the White House went ahead and released President Barack Obama's long form birth certificate -- essentially taking away the central plank in Trump's platform.
That touched off a pretty humiliating week for Trump. He attended -- as the guest of the Washington Post, for reasons beyond understanding -- the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and sat in the audience as Obama and Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers cracked numerous jokes at his expense. Then, when an actual news story broke -- the death of Osama bin Laden -- there was little room left in the newshole to continue covering all of Trump's attendant pseudo-events. In a fitting irony, coverage of the bin Laden announcement actually cut in to the climactic moment of an episode of Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."
As is typical with politicians who drop out of races early, Trump insists that he totally could win the election if he decided to try:
This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."
Of course, the whole notion that Trump ranked "at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country" is about as far from the truth as it gets. His announcement today comes hard on the heels of polling results that found that public support for Trump's candidacy had basically collapsed.
Sadly, this means an end to so many things I looked forward to seeing, like the sight of Donald Trump in an actual political debate against actual seasoned political debaters. Also, isn't it a pity that we shall be denied the opportunity of watching Trump's political ads? Now, we are left having to imagine them. And is he still going to publish his "heavily ghostwritten" policy tome? Let's hope so!
Many months ago, I spoke to Trump on the phone, and he told me, "when I make my announcement, I promise you are going to be surprised." As it turns out, he failed, even in this promise.
(Trump's next step, of course, will be to blame the media for the demise of his campaign, so we can at least look forward to that.)