With Seth Meyers, fresh from his shellacking of Donald Trump at the White House correspondents’ dinner two weeks ago, providing a few more jokes, NBC is holding its annual preview of its fall television season in New York City today. Six new series, including something called “The Playboy Club,” a “Jersey Shore” wannabe.
That last may have prompted an appearance by Donald Trump just before 1 p.m. He used the occasion to announce that he’s not running for president, and to deliver a few one-liners of his own in a prepared statement. Among them: “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. […] Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”
He also mentioned “ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country,” which may or may not have been a joke, depending on one’s perspective. Trump briefly held the top spot, given the unbearable lightness of being a GOP candidate this time around, but his numbers have collapsed in May.
The quip about being able to win the presidency is an obligatory face-saver to evade the reason why the announcement was made today: NBC forced Trump to make a choice between running for president and renewing another season of “The Apprentice.” NBC rules would have forbidden Trump from doing both (though White House rules obviously don’t: viz., Ronald Reagan). “The Apprentice” is Trump’s principal public perch, a guaranteed weekly salve for an ego that cannot function without a gargantuan stage. “The Apprentice” would not have survived either an extended hiatus or Trump’s tendency to embarrass himself even more than, say, Sarah Palin. He gets away with it on “The Apprentice,” where the audience is small and aperture of its fans’ minds even smaller. He would not have, he was not, getting away with it the moment his girth began spilling beyond the choreographed Abu Ghraibs of his board room.
Equally telling: Republicans are figuring out early and often that running against Barack Obama–for all his flaws–is a lost cause, which says almost as much about the GOP’s dearth of imagination, to not say intelligence (Newt Gingrich aside, the combined IQ of the current field, even before Trump, Huckabee and Barbour bumped themselves off, is evocative of artificial house plants after they’ve made it to the recycling plant) as it does about Obama’s command of the 2012 scene. There’s always Gingrich of course, but he’s merely a Neo-Confederate in silver-tongued garb, and we all know what lost causes confederates insist on being, whatever their neo tendencies may be.
One thankfulness at a time: Trump’s riddance back to his board room’s Nero fantasies should make this evening’s cocktails particularly savory.
Trump’s full statement:
“After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. 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.
I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run. My gratitude for your faith and trust in me could never be expressed properly in words. So, I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician’s thoughts. My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country. I will continue to push our President and the country’s policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness. Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country’s conversation. They are now being debated vigorously. I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country’s top priority and something that I know a lot about. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don’t have a medium through which to articulate.
I look forward to supporting the candidate who is the most qualified to help us tackle our country’s most important issues and am hopeful that, when this person emerges, he or she will have the courage to take on the challenges of the Office and be the agent of change that this country so desperately needs.”
Thank you and God Bless America!
Donald J. Trump