Monday, May 16, 2011

Trump not running: but did he still win?

Trump Abandons Designs on White House in 2012 Reuters reported today.

So did President Obama's jokes about him at a White House press dinner recently finish off Trump's Presidential ambitions?

No, Trump is not a quitter: if anything, adversity spurs him on. He probably found it more difficult to give up after Obama's jokes because he would have been worried it might look like the President had got the better of him.

But the new Apprentice season has launched with the kind of marketing of Trump that money couldn't (and didn't have to) buy.

In fact, Trump's presidential bid was part of a bigger pattern in his life, which shows up the media as gullible in the face of Trump's expert handling of his own PR.

It's been only 13 years since there was talk of Trump running for President in 2000 campaign, as the New York Times' archive for October 10 1999 reveals:

Donald Trump has announced his Presidential exploratory committee. He is dreaming of Vice President Oprah Winfrey, insisting that if the talk show host runs with him, they will win ...Some have said that Mr. Trump's motive is to flog the latest volume in his life story.

Journalists in 1999 might have been forgiven for letting Trump fool them: after all, he'd only tried this once before, eleven years earlier, in the 1988 campaign.

As the Times reported on September 2, 1987:

Mr. Trump was not available to comment on whether he means to be taken seriously as someone pondering running for President, or was just stirring up a little smoke to draw attention to himself or his views.

So, three periods of rumour, speculation and denial. Who knows how calculated each was in Trump's own mind? But he must have realised that this is a neat way to get a huge amount of attention while looking like he doesn't really want it.

If we take the average duration between these episodes, we should expect the next Trump bid for the White House in 2023. He'll be 76 then, so perhaps there'll be another autobiography to plug.

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