Is Donald Trump important enough to be considered for a serious presidential candidate? Probably not, but in a country that puts a neurosurgeon near the top of the polls, anything can happen. At this time, Trump is 10th in the polls in an even dozen GOP presidential candidate field.
Trump’s announcement included the claim that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are “rapists” who “are bringing drugs” to the U.S. He would build a “great wall” on the southern U.S. border and dismantle President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive action that shields hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants from deportation. And he would make Mexico pay for the wall! He continued, “Some, I assume are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting.”
The RNC has not repudiated Trump’s statement equating undocumented people to rapists. The closest that they came to criticizing Trump is when Sean Spicer, the RNC’s Chief Strategist & Communications Director, said that Trump’s accusation “is not helpful to the cause” before he changed the subject.
The real estate magnate and reality television star announced his candidacy last Tuesday morning, promising to be “the greatest jobs president God ever created” and assuring the American people that his rivals “will never make America great again.”
No one—not President Obama, Democrats, Republicans, and foreign nations—was safe from Trump’s tirade.
“I’m using my own money…. I’m really rich…that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country. It sounds crass, it’s not crass.”
“Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump.” (Trump always speaks of himself in the third person, like Julius Caesar.)
“I beat China all the time. All the time.”
“I have so many websites, I have them all over the place.” (Referring to the problems with the federal health care reform website several years ago.)
“[President Obama] might be on one of my [golf] courses; I have some of the best courses in the world.” (Inviting the president to play one of his golf courses.)
“This is beyond anybody’s expectations. There’s been no crowd like this.” (In reference to the cheering people who were picked up off the street to attend his announcement.)
“Let’s save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts [because] now many of these candidates want to cut it.”
“Sadly, the American dream is dead, but if I get elected president, I will bring it back, bigger, and better than ever.”
Trump thinks that the U.S. should emulate totalitarian China. He berated Ford’s CEO, his friend, for building an auto factory in Mexico.
On Salon, Bob Cesca wrote, “With Trump officially joining the race, he vindicates the increasingly obvious analysis that the Republican Party, at the presidential level at least, is little more than a shell corporation for opportunists and careerists who aren’t interested in governing or even winning.”
Some of Trump’s past positions:
- Global warming is a sham because ice exists.
- Windmills are “disgusting” and “horrible.”
- Vaccines can cause autism.
- Gay people are like golf clubs: “[Same-sex marriage is] like in golf. . . A lot of people – I don’t want this to sound trivial – but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive…. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And I hate it. I am a traditionalist.”
Although Trump said, “I have a great relationship with the blacks,” but a colleague remembers his saying, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” Trump said that it was “probably true.”
Trump owns the Miss USA Pageant and has made women cry after he weeded out women he found too unattractive. In 2000, he said, “The only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
FiveThirtyEight reported that “Trump is the first candidate in modern presidential primary history to begin the campaign with a majority of his own party disliking him. A majority of 57 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to an average of the three most recent polls.” His favorability rating is at -32 percentage, the worst of the 106 presidential candidates since 1980.
Trump may also be unpopular with Republicans for some of his progressive beliefs:
- Government health care for all
- Legalization for all drugs
- Taxes on the wealth of the 1%
- No more foreign wars
- Protection of U.S. workers by defeating the Trans-Pacific Partnership
- A 20-percent tax on all imported goods
- Women’s right to choose their reproductive rights
- Prevention of assault weapons
Advantages for Trump’s official status as candidate: He must disclose his much-debated income (which he claims is $10 billion) to the Federal Elections Commission and may need to give up his role as the chief antagonist of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Also, if anything can make Jon Stewart delay his departure from The Daily Show, it’s Trump as candidate. Stewart has already gotten started on Trump, declaring that “America’s id is running for president.”
Trump will definitely add humor to the GOP race. Almost three years when Trump offered to give $5 million to a charity of President Obama if he would release his birth certificate, Jay Leno asked the president about Trump. President Obama joked:
“This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya. We had constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn’t very good and resented it. … When we finally moved to America, I thought it would be over.”
Trump had ignored the fact that President Obama had two years earlier released his birth certificate showing that he was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961.
Trump has already picked his running mate. He told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he and Oprah Winfrey would be “unstoppable.” Most likely, however, Winfrey will decline.
Trump can still disappoint late-night comedians. As of yet, he has not filed formal paperwork with the FEC although he has another 120 days to do so. Technically, he could participate in the first three GOP presidential debates without having registered to run. That makes him eligible for the first three GOP debates. Trump does have campaign staffers and a candidate-like travel schedule, including one in New Hampshire the day after his announcement.
At one time, candidates ran because they wanted to make the country better and thought they could actually win. Then the number of candidates expanded because it was a stepping stone to other government positions such as vice-president of cabinet member. Most recently, however, candidacy was a way to get a television or radio show—or perhaps hit the speaking circuit—such as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Trump’s most recent claim to fame is a reality TV show. GOP strategist Steve Schmidt said, “You have a category of people who exist in that fuzzy space where celebrity and politics meet in our culture. You’ve seen, increasingly, a number of those candidates running.” Donald Trump is at the head of that pack.
As Chris Hayes pointed out, Donald Trump is doing all of us a favor by eliminating the middleman and funding his own campaign. Here is Hayes’ take on that subject.