It was fun while it lasted, but after weeks and weeks of Donald Trump playing a game of maybe-maybe-not, the TV star and business mogul has said he will not run for president.
“After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency,” said Trump in a press release.
Several publications, including the New York Post reported earlier today that Trump would have to tell NBC executives whether he plans to stay on as a TV celebrity, rather than pursue political notoriety. This week, TV companies will begin pitching advertisers for next year’s line up — and they need to know if that pitch includes an Apprentice with or without Trump.
NBC’s entertainment chairmen, Bob Greenblatt told CNN that if Trump “decides to run for president and is unavailable to do the show,we will bring the show back and there will be somebody else sitting at the head of the boardroom table … Who that is, we’re not even going to really entertain because I’m still hoping we will have Donald in the seat.”
Celebrity Apprentice has been a boon for NBC recently, even holding the number one Sunday spot — the night President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden — despite previous months of waxing and (some) waning. Recently, ratings for the Trump show appear somewhat provisory to a Trump candidacy, with numbers for both ratings and poll position, often rising and falling together.
Trump’s political ambitions began to rise again after a shellacking from the President and SNL’s Seth Meyers at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; a week of low poll numbers; and little TV exposure. On Sunday, however, Mike Huckabee appeared to give a Trump run some legitimacy, after the former Arkansas Governor himself decided to not run in 2012.
“Donald Trump would be better for America than Barack Obama,” said Huckabee on Fox Sunday night. “Donald Trump has taken a pro-life position. He believes that we are getting shanghaied by China, which I agree with.”
Although Trump hasn’t gotten any love from the likes of conservative gatekeeper Charles Krauthammer, he continued to meet with influential leaders and had been reaching out to the GOP base with several public appearances. On Tuesday, Trump will sit down with Erick Erickson of RedState.
The decision may be a case of “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me three times … ” as Trump’s sudden retreat from the political scene is reminiscent of both 1989 and 2000, when Trump toyed with the idea of running as the Reform Party candidate. While Trump was quicker to back out of the race — bowing out in February — Trump said he passed on a run because “Without Jesse [Ventura], the Reform Party is just an extremist shell and cannot be a force or even a factor in 2000.”
Read the full press release below:
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