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Donald Trump: I’m Not Out Of The 2012 Race At All

Reported by Ellen - June 2, 2011 -

Ruh-Roh! Not only is Donald Trump now saying he never really quit the presidential race (because he never formally declared himself in it), he’s also saying that he planned all along to keep his options open to run as an independent next year if the Republican candidate is “a stiff” - “a big possibility,” according to Trump. So here we go again... maybe! I wonder how much patience the GOP and their chief strategists, Fox News, will have for The Donald this time around.

Trump’s “revelation” (which he also hinted at a little over a week ago on Fox & Friends) came during a lengthy interview with Greta Van Susteren that was supposed to be about Trump’s meeting with Palin. But somehow Trump made it all about himself.

Oh, sure he had plenty of praise for that underrated “great patriot” Sarah Palin but he let us know early and often that he was the bigger star. Trump said:

The crowd was enormous (at the pizza place where he ate with Palin)… She (Palin) says it’s the biggest crowd of reporters she’s seen in years… and it was a big, big crowd of people gathered around the entrance to Trump Tower last night.

He predicted Palin would “do very well” as a presidential candidate. But, Trump said, he differed from Palin in that “Number one, I was leading (in) the polls.”

Plus, of course, he’s rich and he has a television show. After boasting that while other television stars were seeking renewed contracts, NBC was running after him. Trump explained his decision to (kinda sorta) drop out of the presidential race.

I put it all together, I’m looking at this self-destruction of the Republican Party with the moves that they’ve been making and I have NBC calling, offering me tens of millions of dollars and no matter how rich you are, it’s still a lot of money. And you know what? Almost more important than the money – I have a hit show… and I decided that I would do what I really felt was the responsible thing to do, also knowing that when my contract with NBC expires, there’s plenty of time to run if I don’t like the Republican candidate or – you know, if certain other things happen, for instance, if the economy is terrible and they put up a stiff as the Republican candidate, which is a big possibility.

“So basically, you’re not totally out, you’re mostly out,” Van Susteren ventured.

Trump interrupted.

No, I’m not out at all. Look, I’m not a Ross Perot who goes in and then decides to go out. I never went in… I’ve never said I was running. I said I was considering it, and seriously considering it, and then I’ve watched these terrible mistakes made by the Republican Party…

…If I had my choice, I’d love the Republicans to pick somebody fabulous, who’s going to beat Obama, because I think it’s one of the most important elections in the history of this country… I don’t see that person yet.

Trump leveled heavy criticisms against Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, a move that will surely endear him to the Republican establishment – not!

Van Susteren asked Trump what questions Palin had asked him. Once again, Trump made it all about him. Trump said he thought Palin “would have liked me to stay in the race, I can say that. She loved what I was saying about China… and she made a statement that since I got out of the race, nobody’s talking about China.”

Trump also said:

She did ask me about the running as an independent. And I said, ‘Look, if I don’t see the right person running for the Republicans, I would certainly consider it.’ And the beauty of that is, NBC pays me tens of millions of dollars to do the show and I have a responsibility – no matter how rich you are, it’s still a lot of money and it’s very cool to have a top show on television… So at the end of that, which is about this time next year, even sooner, I’ve fulfilled my obligations to NBC and I have plenty of time to make that decision as to whether or not I run as an independent but it’ll be very dependent on who the Republican nominee is and also it’ll be dependent on where the economy stands.

Of course, about six weeks ago, Trump told Sean Hannity he was worried that running as an independent would help Obama get re-elected. "So unless I thought I could win, really win, as an independent, I would not do that,” Trump said at the time.

But now, Trump told Van Susteren, “a three-person race might be better for me than a two-person race.”

What will be more interesting than Trump running or not running is how Fox News will handle him. Fox News (i.e. Roger Ailes) may have slobbered over Trump's potential run before the birth certificate debacle but as 2012 looms closer and the GOP settles on a nominee, Trump can only play a spoiler role. Ailes may have to choose between ratings and the election. Another wild card is that unlike Fox News employees, Trump is not likely to obediently follow Ailes' playbook.

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