Trump Won't Run for President

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 16 2011 12:44 PM

Trump Won't Run for President

The loser in this situation ? It's a tough contest, but I'm going to give it to Regnery, whose Harry Crawford was helping Trump put together a policy tome that's now headed to the remainder bin faster than Three Cups of Tea .

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.

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Even in his exit statement, Trump lies. He's not at the top of polls anymore ; his pre-campaign was imploding, and he was rapidly losing public support from Republicans who had started looking for other generic anti-establishment candidates. A more important, implied lie: Trump said a month ago that he was going to put out his tax returns. Specifically, he said he was "maybe... going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate." Obama put out his long-firm birth certificate and Trump didn't do anything. He leaves the race -- and rules out the third party bid Roger Stone wants -- having raised even more speculation about how much he's really worth, and why he's so cowardly about revealing it.

I said Regnery was the loser in this situation. A close second:

Who's the winner? Oh, everyone else on the planet. Trump's pre-campaign was an odious and ignorant publicity stunt. The ideas he introduced into the campaign: a punitive tariff on China, forced seizure of Middle East oil fields, questions about Barack Obama's citizenship, and questions about Obama's college performance. (Trump never offered his own college records, even after Justin Elliott of Salon pointed out that the often-stated claim that Trump graduated first in his class was probably a lie.) We can't psychoanalyze the voters who told pollsters they liked Trump -- there were hundreds -- but his collapse suggests they were more interested in the idea of a Mr. Fix-It businessman than they were in the reality of a high-class huckster and rip-off artist.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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