Donald Trump Tries to Stand Out in 2012 Presidential Field
Donald Trump granted an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Monday (she had a camera and a microphone, so of course he showed up) where he laid out some of his boilerplate political beliefs, praised the conservatives at CPAC, and invoked Reagan’s name at least five times.
Amidst all the generic Republican talking points he did attempt to define himself and what separates him from the other Republican contenders: he’s going to spent a truckload of money.
Van Susteren: If you ran, would you self fund?
Trump: I would put up a lot of my own money. … I would put up hundreds of millions if I have to.
And there we have it! Donald Trump, following closely in the footsteps of failed California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, plans to spend a fortune on losing an election.
Now to his credit, he could be trying to channel popular New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spent between $85 million and $100 million in 2009 just to hold on to his own job. But where Bloomberg has concrete policy ideas and instances of independent thought (see: Gun Control), Trump has recycled factual inaccuracies and generic conservative prejudices.
He shows an aptitude for sucking up to the base:
Trump: I'm probably as conservative as anybody on your show. I'm Republican, a very conservative Republican. I believe strongly in just about all conservative principles, just about.
Did he mention he’s a conservative Republican conservative?
He doesn’t say much about being pro-life other than “I’m pro-life,” but he manages to get in a quick jab at gay marriage:
Trump: I'm not in favor of gay marriage. I live in New York. New York is a place with lots of gays, and I think it is great. But I'm not in favor of gay marriage.
For a thrice-married philanderer, he sure has a hard-line stance when it comes to other people’s marriages.
Trump really seals the deal when he brags about the fact that he’s “made billions of dollars.” (I re-watched the interview to see if he really said, “inherited” – he didn’t.) Apparently Rand Paul bragged that he could win the presidency because he’s won 11 elections, and Donald Trump couldn’t because he hasn’t; Donald Trump declared that he could win the presidency because he’s rich, despite never being elected to office (“I consider that an asset”) and Rand Paul couldn’t because he has.
Can’t they agree that they’re both half-right (neither can win the presidency) and move on?
Yes, making money is really key to becoming the next Commander-in-Chief. (He asks Greta, “Don’t they want to elect somebody who’s done well?”) Though it might be worth reviewing just how well Trump has done in business.
During the 1990s Trump endured more than a few bankruptcies: the Trump Plaza Hotel, the Trump Shuttle, and the Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts all filed for Chapter 11. In fact, that last one had to emerge under a different name, now Trump Entertainment Resorts, and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a total of 3 times.
Serving as a witness at a hearing in a New Jersey courtroom in 2010, Trump insisted, “I don’t like the ‘b’ word.” But ‘bankruptcy’ sure seems to like him.
Trump flashes a few economic policy ideas to burnish his street cred, but it’s hard to take him seriously when he says things like:
Trump: Look at the trade agreement we made with South Korea. They didn't even want to sign it. They wanted it to be better, and it was only when North Korea attacked them that all of a sudden they said we will sign and we sent our ships over to protect them. And by the way, you know what it cost to turn off that aircraft carrier and start sending it?
None of this is true, of course, and most people who have any ties to the U.S. financial world know it. The deal is set to increase our exports to that country by $1 billion and spur job growth – and give security to an important democratic ally in Asia.
Ultimately, the problem with Donald Trump (wait, let me rephrase: the MAIN problem with Donald Trump) is that he can’t possibly win a national election, won’t win the primary, and may not make it out of Iowa, where he says he won’t need to knock on doors because he’s “very well known.”
But is he?
The sad fact is that when you’re prompted with the thought of a nationally famous and wealthy Republican presidential contender who has no grasp of policy, loves media attention, and stars in a reality television show, somebody else comes to mind.