Trump may have to decide today whether or not to run for president

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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Today may be the day Donald Trump has to stop teasing the public and officially announce his 2012 plans. Will he run for President? Or will he stay on for another season of his highly-rated NBC show Celebrity Apprentice?

The New York Post reports that Trump will have to tell NBC executives today 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.

But which way it will go, nobody knows.

Trump will do what’s best for Trump, which changes by the day. Though his TV numbers are good right now, Trump’s political ambitions have risen again after a week of low poll numbers and little TV exposure. On Sunday, 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 said on Fox. “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 continues to meet with influential leaders has been reaching out to the GOP base with several appearances and. On Tuesday, Trump will sit down with Erick Erickson of RedState. It follows less than a week after the mysterious Draft Trump 2012 committee picked up to more political pledges from old conservative hands Denny Smith and Chuck Kozak, as co-financial chairs of the “grassroots” effort. The number of political operatives in this shadow campaign is now up to double digits and includes a “Southern Regional Director,” several state coordinators and a official musician in country star Jerry Naylor.

Trump appears to be faced with a choice: disappoint the well-paying execs or the budding “grassroots” group of potential presidential loyalists. Unfortunately, the TV exposure and political floating seem intrinsically tied and even someone like Trump may not be able to play both sides for much longer.

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