Politics

As Trump bows out, some reactions are gloomier than others

Jeff Winkler Contributor

Goodbye Donald Trump, we really knew thee.

On Twitter, reactions to the real estate mogul, TV star and general American Renaissance Man’s announcement that he would not — as hinted and teased at for months — run for the Republican presidential candidacy was immediate and swift. SNL’s lead writer and host of “Weekend Update,” Seth Meyers, took a few hits at the man he skewered during the White House Correspondence Dinner. Liberal current affairs comedian Andy Borowitz got in a zinger, saying “Trump Decides Not to Throw Hair in the Ring.”

Of the gazillion tweets filled with ridicule and cheers, however, none had the apparently earnest hope of The Right Network’s Jim Hoft, who wrote, “The Donald can still serve — SIGN THE PETITION: @realDonaldTrump for Ambassador to China.” Holt’s summation on his blog Gateway Pundit (“Where Hope Finally Made a Comeback”), was rather succulent: “Bummer.

Not that Holt’s analysis didn’t accurately relay the feeling of some of those who publicly supported Trump.

Two teams — ShouldTrumpRun.com and DraftTrump2012 — had been vying for Trump’s attention. The former was set up by two men already within the Trump circle; his special council Michael Cohen and Stewart Rahr, a senior executive at the Trump Organization. It was the Draft Trump committee — set up by famed political operative Roger Stone consisting of long-time political insiders offering both their public support as well as their political talents should The Donald decide to run — that gained the most public steam though.

The New Republic described the Draft Trump 2012 group as an “eclectic crew of young enthusiasts, old Reagan hands, and one especially slimy and notorious political operative.” The group Included a national political director Lynn Krogh (an old George Pataki hand and head of the Young Republicans), Illinois operative Eric Johnson and the “western states coordinator” Jim Stockdale.*

“It’s going to take me a few hours to recover,” Danny Smith told The Daily Caller. The previous week, it was announced that Smith would serve as co-financial chairman of the Draft Trump 2012 campaign. “The difficulty is we gotta get this country straightened out and I’m just kind of reeling,” Smith told The Daily Caller. “I’m just disappointed as can be. There was always a possibility that he just wasn’t going to do it … but I think we [the Draft Trump crew] all felt it was going to happen.”

Trump was keeping his intentions close to the chest before meeting with executives at NBC to decide whether or not “The Apprentice” would feature it’s biggest star.  Apparently none of Draft Trump members were given hints. Smith said Jim Stockdale heard about the news while grocery shopping.

“I had a couple of people call me [who were involved in the Draft Trump effort] and say ‘what do we do now?’,” Kenny Klinge told TheDC after hearing the news on TV. Klinge was the southern political director for Ronald Reagan and last month signed on to do something similar for Trump should he decided to run.

An old hand a politics, Klinge was more sagacious about the disappointing announcement.

“I mean, I’m not running around with my hair on fire. I don’t have any hair to be on fire. Even if I did, I wouldn’t be doing it. “

Apart from breaking hearts, the announcement resulted in Trump breaking dates. For at least two events, Trump’s potential run was the main attraction. Red State editor Erik Erickson was set to have an hour-long, live-broadcast one-on-one with Trump this Tuesday. But he was informed this past Friday that Trump needed to “reschedule” the event. After the announcement on Monday, Erickson’s vaguely resentful post on the subject was fairly self-explanatory: “In A Statement That Surprised No One. Now With More Words Than Necessary to Explain it All.” The Columbia Tea Party in South Carolina, too, was also looking forward to Trump headlining a talk on Wednesday. A few hours after the news break though, Trump canceled the appearance. Columbia Tea Party leader Allen Olsen told the Charlotte Observer that the show would go on.

Some promises, however, Trump plans to keep. At the beginning of May, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Conference (FFC) and Strategy Briefing announced that the “potential presidential candidate” would be a featured speaker at the June meeting. An FFC Representatives told TheDC that no changes have been made to the major social conservative forum.

While the appearance may be some good news for Trump-ophiles, perhaps the best sign of a deflated Trump crew comes from Roger Stone himself. The “political hitman” is usually fast with a joke and even quicker with a one-line zinger. Asked by TheDC for a comment, however, Stone was unusually flat.

“Trump’s withdrawal makes a huge vacuum on the Republican side even bigger,” said Stone. “Those who favored Trump will be looking for a new candidate.”

“Sources” say Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann will “very likley” run.

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*The original article incorrectly identified Jim Stockdale as James Stockdale, who was the existential vice presidential candidate for the Reform Party in 1992.