Donald Trump Is Running For President, And Nothing Makes Sense Anymore

We live in a random and chaotic universe.

In what can only be described as a 45 minute long steam of consciousness that will likely go down in history as the most bizarre Presidential announcement in American history, Donald Trump told the world today that he was running for President of the United States:

Donald J. Trump, the garrulous real estate developer whose name has adorned apartment buildings, hotels, Trump-brand neckties and Trump-brand steaks, announced on Tuesday his entry into the 2016 presidential race, brandishing his wealth and fame as chief qualifications in an improbable quest for the Republican nomination.

Mr. Trump declared his candidacy in the atrium of Trump Tower, the luxury skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in New York City, saying, “We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again.” Proclaiming that he will be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” he said he will restore America’s economic primacy as he repeatedly assailed the behavior of China.

Mr. Trump, 69, has long toyed with running for president, boasting of his credentials as an entrepreneur and mocking the accomplishments of prominent elected officials. He has used the platform of a reality television show, NBC’s “The Apprentice,” to burnish his pop-culture image as a formidable man of affairs.

It seems a remote prospect that Republicans, stung in 2012 by the caricature of their nominee, Mitt Romney, as a pampered and politically tone-deaf financier, would rebound by nominating a real estate magnate who has published books with titles such as, “Think Like a Billionaire” and “Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich — And Why Most Don’t.”

But Mr. Trump, who has never held elected office, may not be so easily confined to the margins of the 2016 campaign. Thanks to his enormous media profile, he stands a good chance of qualifying for nationally televised debates, where his appetite for combat and skill at playing to the gallery could make him a powerfully disruptive presence.

(…)

Mr. Trump and his allies insist that he is serious about this race. He intends to release a financial statement sketching out his net worth in broad, perhaps generous terms, although it is unclear whether he will make a more complete disclosure of tax returns as required of candidates. Associates say Mr. Trump is willing, even eager, to spend his fortune in the race, and has hired staff in the early nominating states.

“He has said a couple of times that he could easily put $100 million into the race and that he feels that would not impact him financially,” said Christopher Ruddy, a friend of Mr. Trump’s.

Mr. Ruddy, who is chief executive of Newsmax, the conservative magazine and website, said Mr. Trump would bring an unaccustomed level of glamour to the Republican field.

“He’s got that celebrity status,” Mr. Ruddy said. “Republicans sort of crave that, because we don’t have it, generally.”\

Geraldo Rivera, the veteran broadcaster who was a finalist on the reality show “Celebrity Apprentice,” said Mr. Trump would quickly leave a mark on the race thanks to his ability as a showman.

“Right now, Jeb Bush is announcing,” Mr. Rivera said Monday afternoon. “Who would you rather watch, him or Trump?”

Politico has details on the speech:

Speaking from New York City’s Trump Tower office building after descending an escalator to the sounds of Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World,” the billionaire real estate mogul on Tuesday launched into an aggressive and quixotic speech that spanned trade, foreign affairs, America’s current economic situation, Washington lobbyists, his own riches, his golf courses, and his repeated assertions that he’s a nice guy.

He was not shy about what he would bring to the job. “I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created,” Trump proclaimed.

“This is beyond anybody’s expectations,” Trump said when he reached the stage. “When was the last time anybody saw us beat, let’s say, China, in a trade deal. They kill us.” Trump said. “I beat China all the time. All the time.”

He also mentioned Japan and Mexico as examples of countries “beating” the U.S. in international trade and voiced opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal currently being negotiated among 12 countries.

“I’m totally against the trade deal,” Trump said, adding that he believes in trade only when it’s negotiated by smart negotiators. Obama “doesn’t have a clue,” he said, citing the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap with the Taliban and the emerging Iranian nuclear deal as examples of the president’s inability to negotiate.

In one of his most pointed attacks, Trump blamed Washington for its inability to control immigration, saying that Latin Americans and, likely, people from the Middle East are coming in droves and damaging the country.

“When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best,” the billionaire businessman said. “They’re sending people who have lots of problems,” he claimed, adding that he believes many immigrants are drug dealers, rapists and other types of criminals.

Trump pitched himself as a Washington outsider and well-connected, expert deal-maker. The current political class, he said, is beholden to lobbyists, including some representing Trump.

“They will never make America great again,” he said of the other candidates. “They don’t have a chance.”

Trump spent a significant portion of his speech outlining his finances and net worth of what he claimed to be more than $8 billion in real estate holdings, licensing deals and other investments.

“I’m really rich,” Trump told the crowd. And that, he said, will help him make the country rich. “I’m not being crass.”

Much as was the case during the 2012 election cycle, I don’t believe that anyone really thought Trump was serious about running for President. Even when he formed an exploratory committee and hired staff in New Hampshire, Iowa, and elsewhere, most reporters and pundits assumed that this was another one of Trump’s feints designed more to draw media attention to himself than anything else. Even right up to the moment he took the stage — after having arrived via escalator while Neil Young’s “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” played on the sound system — nobody was really clear on what he was going to do or say. Once he got past uttering the words, though, the speech really got fun, and political reporters on Twitter had fun with it. We got a rambling, Fidel Castro-esque discourse that covered everything from real estate in New York City to immigration, China, and his fellow Republican candidates. And, the classic line “I’m really rich” when Trump tried to explain why he would be immune from the pressures of lobbyists and special interests if he were to become President.

There’s not really any point in trying to analyze the policy ideas in Trump’s speech, because, well, there really weren’t any. At one point he said that he would build a wall at the Mexican border, and that he would make Mexico pay for it. He said that he would essentially blackmail American manufacturers into bringing all of their overseas factories back to the United States. He had something to say about health care, but I honestly can’t explain it because I could not understand what he was saying. At various points in the speech, he would go off on bizarre tangents about how bad things are in the United States today, capping off his speech with the line “The American dream is dead.” I may not be a high paid political expert, but that doesn’t really sound like a winning campaign message. Perhaps the most fantastic thing, though, was the press release from the Democratic National Committee, which noted that Trump adds “much-needed seriousness to the race” and looked forward to “hearing more about his ideas for the nation.” It was, without question, the weirdest thing I’ve seen in quite a long time.

No matter how bizarre it may be, though, it does appear that we are going to have to take Donald Trump at least somewhat seriously. In the national polls, he is currently polling better than candidates such as Rick Perry, John Kaisch, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki and he’s solidly in the middle of the pack in Iowa and nearly pulling 10% in New Hampshire. As of today, he is polling well enough to be included in the early Republican debates, which will undoubtedly make those events all the more of a spectacular train wreck. Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee, of course. As Harry Enten points out today, he enters the race as the most disliked person ever to seek the nomination of a major party. At the same time, though, the very fact that he is Donald Trump guarantees that he will get media attention for as long as he’s in the race. And if today’s speech, which was apparently completely extraneous and departed completely from the text of a prepared speech that had been given to the press, is any indication, it’s going to be quite a spectacle.

Strap yourself in America, this is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Update: Here’s the video of the speech, which simply must be watched, and the transcript:

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hal_10000 says:

    We’re going to need a bigger clown car.

  2. J-Dub says:

    I’m pretty sure I heard him endorse a single-payer health care system. “Affordable health care for everyone” I believe he said.

    And huge expenditures on infrastructure spending, to include the Great Wall of Mexico, I suppose.

  3. J-Dub says:

    Oh, although he didn’t say it outright, Executive Orders to get it all done because he can’t rely on beholden politicians to pass legislation.

    35% tariffs on cars and parts coming from Mexico and brand new roads and bridges at 1/3 the present cost because, well, of course he has the best negotiatiors.

    I would almost vote for him just to see what would happen. I’ve already ordered an industrial size popcorn maker.

  4. Gustopher says:

    No matter how bizarre it may be, though, it does appear that we are going to have to take Donald Trump at least somewhat seriously.

    No, we don’t have to take him seriously. He’s a joke, like Ben Carson. He simply shows how wide open the Republican field is, and how they are in complete disarray.

    He’s like an unserious Ross Perot, and we have to wonder if he will leave the race because people are planning to disrupt his daughter’s wedding with photoshopped lesbian pictures. At least Ross Perot never went bankrupt and never declared that the American Dream is dead.

  5. LWA says:

    Bring on the Brawndo!

  6. Mu says:

    The problem with an election from the clown car: At some point you might find out the only thing left in it are the clowns.
    Most of the serious candidates actually have other jobs they might concentrate on keeping. So Jeb’s retired, so he might run to the end just for the kick of it.

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    “I beat China all the time. All the time.”

    “When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best,”

    I always enjoy when candidates sound like they’ve learned their foreign policy chops by playing Civilization III.

  8. Pete S says:

    I particularly look forward to Trump quoting a very sarcastic DNC press release praising him in future ads. Hopefully none of his handlers explain it to him before that.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    At the same time, though, the very fact that he is Donald Trump guarantees that he will get media attention for as long as he’s in the race.

    Which makes me think he’s going to be in it for quite awhile. He’s not serious about winning. He is serious about media coverage. Since he has no need to actually win a primary, and since he is, indeed, quite rich, there is no reason for him to stop campaigning after losing every primary through Super Tuesday.

    He’s just going to keep going, ensuring that half of the media coverage of the GOP is about a completely asinine candidate.

    I’m starting to think God does play favorites, and she favors the Democrats.

  10. wr says:

    What was really entertaining was that all his “facts” seemed to come from crazy Republican uncle emails. Apparently health insurance premiums are up hundreds of percent thanks to Obamacare and the five billion dollars they spent on the website.

    The real question is what happens when he starts pulling out these numbers in debates — do the other clowns correct him, or adopt them as their own? As loathesome a little toad as he is, Trump actually has the potential to bring down the entire Republican party.

    And Doug doesn’t understand why the DNC is so excited to see him get in the race…

  11. LaMont says:

    “When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best,”

    Donald Trump is THE testament to how far to the right the GOP has strayed since 2008. Do any of you really believe he would have a political platform on this stage it if were not so? In 2008, the quote above would have meant political disaster for any politician dumb enough to spew it. Now, it’s par for the course regarding Republican campaigning affairs.

    It’s official, the GOP are in serious trouble. “The Donald” brings more media attention to the clown show and more openly exposes the GOP for who they really are. My am I gonna love watching this train wreck!

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    OK. I was wrong. There really is a God and he has answered my prayers.

  13. LaMont says:

    @J-Dub:

    And huge expenditures on infrastructure spending, to include the Great Wall of Mexico, I suppose.

    Yes, because beating China will apparently be very high on “The Donald’s” agenda come day 1 in the oval office…

  14. Xenos says:

    It makes perfect sense because the GOP nominating process is irrevocably broken. It is a sideshow for grifters and crooks, and a very lucrative business for the grifters.

    If the GOP is unable to nominate a serious contender to beat Hillary, when they have had more than 4 years to prepare, it will be time to stop thinking of it as a serious national party.

  15. @Hal_10000:

    We’re going to need a bigger clown car.

    Trump would obviously insist on a clown limo.

  16. David in KC says:

    I’m guessing he is in up and to the point he has to release his financials.

  17. Ken says:

    Apparently Donald is unaware that a joke is only funny the first time

  18. superdestroyer says:

    @Mu:

    Considering that no Republican candidate has a chance of winning, who cares how many run and whether they are serious or not. Maybe if the media was doing its job, more Americans would know how unlikely a Republican win is. Then, the 2016 election could be spent asking the Democrats policy and governance questions instead of personal gotcha questions or chasing after irrelevant Republicans.

  19. Tyrell says:

    What is the betting line that he wiil be gone by the first debate ?

    Alan Keyes – we miss you
    Long live Harold Stassen

  20. John Peabody says:

    [The speech] “simply must be watched”? Oh, hell, no.

  21. CS says:

    Colbert, Stewart, Maher and Oliver are going to to have a square-dance over this…

    God has spoken and apparently he favors comedy.

    What should really scare Republicans is that Trump might get through to the debates. No candidate can look serious if that mutant tribble he has for hair is in shot.

  22. HankP says:

    Looks like we’ve reached Peak Asshole.

  23. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It’d have to be a stretch Hummer. 🙂

    Can I just say the lede on this article is perhaps the best thing I’ve read in a while? It was perfect. Thank you, Mr. Mataconis.

    See, when the Roman Empire finally collapsed, it was probably a period of anxiety and apprehension for the people caught up in it. Not saying there’s none of that now, just saying we at least can laugh at the decline thanks to improved communication technology.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HankP: Nawww, there’s plenty more where these came from.

  25. Moderate Mom says:

    If, through some uncanny stroke of luck (like everyone else in the field for both parties died) he won, get those Bibles out and familiarize yourself with the Book of Revelations. It’s a sure sign the end is nigh.

  26. Pete S says:

    most reporters and pundits assumed that this was another one of Trump’s feints designed more to draw media attention to himself than anything else.

    So was actually running in his plan all along, or did he only get pushed into running when he kept hearing this opinion over and over? Did the “reporters and pundits” call his bluff?

  27. Scott says:

    I’m beginning to believe that Trump is a Yippie mole waiting in hiding for just the right time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_International_Party

  28. HankP says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sure, but the Asshole is strong in this one. I grew up in the NYC area so I’ve unfortunately been exposed to him more than the public at large.

  29. Tillman says:

    @Scott: Fairly certain if that’s the case, my head will explode Scanners-style at the revelation. And I won’t mind one bit. Clearly I would be Too Sane For This Earth.

  30. stonetools says:

    (shrug)

    All of this is random noise. By next March, the carnival barkers will be gone and it will be down to Bush, Rubio, Walker, and maybe Perry.

  31. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Trump would obviously insist on a clown limo.”

    It would have to be a quality limo.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HankP: Well, from my fair distance my money would be on Christie for Peak Aszhole.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @stonetools: The entertainment factor until then is well worth the price of admission.

  34. JohnMcC says:

    Well that does it! I am DEFINITELY changing my voter registration so that I can vote for Mr Trump in the Florida primary. Haven’t had that much fun since the pigs ate my little brother!

  35. anjin-san says:

    Hey, the Prince of Clowns is in…

  36. Argon says:

    The run will end the moment Donald has to shell out one penny of his own money.

  37. michael reynolds says:

    What ought to scare Republicans is the possibility of this anal gland of a man will enjoy running and go independent.

    There’s near unanimity in actual policy positions among the GOP candidates (Rand Paul aside) so this is about emotion at this point. Jeb Bush represents the relatively rational types and Carson, Cruz and Trump represent the eternally apoplectic voters.

    Will the apoplectics calm down as we near the decisive days? Or will they still need someone to give voice to their raving? Cruz probably won’t have the money and neither will Carson, but Trump can self-finance a wild, independent campaign drawing votes from the GOP.

    Could an independent Trump giving voice to the crazies take 2 or 3 points in Florida or North Carolina? I’d bet he can. And since he doesn’t give two sh!ts about the GOP and cares only about his own ego, and is rich enough to afford it, why not?

  38. Davebo says:

    Would he paint “Trump” on the side of Air Force One?

    Truth is, he could have saved a ton of money and hassles with the FAA if he could have lived without his name in large letters on the side of his 757 and helicopter.

  39. grumpy realist says:

    Eh, I see this as an ego trip by Donald Trump so he can barrel out his claim that he’s worth $8 billion. (Forbes has estimated Donald’s only $4.1B) At some point he’ll make another Fidel Castro-ish speech about how he has done what he intended to do, which is move the race in direction X, then he’ll quit.

    It’s a marketing gimmick. He wants to add “ran for POTUS” and “worth $8 billion” to the cliches journalists will have to use to refer to him in the future, and this is a cheaper method than outright bribes.

  40. CS says:

    @JohnMcC: Well, given the Dem nomination is likely to be effectively settled quite early, it might be worthwhile – if Dems can nudge Trump up a bit in the primaries, get him outside the margin of error, the results could be hilarious. Imagine the Republicans having to actually take him seriously.

  41. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist: I thought he said he had $8B in assets. No mention of liabilities. So what is the net worth? I suppose legally there is no chance of those folks held holding his debt in the four bankrupcies have a chance of recoupment.

  42. Scott says:

    Can you imagine the apoplexy of those Republican candidates that get bumped from the debate stage by Trump?

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/06/16/why-trump-is-important-in-one-chart/

    Personally, I think the knives might start coming out.

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: I’d go by the Forbes estimate rather than whatever Trump has come up with. The very large error bar is because a lot of the assets Trump holds are highly illiquid, so he can slap a “value” on to them of whatever he pleases (including their prices at the top of the real estate bubble.)

    There’s also some indication that Trump isn’t listing his liabilities in his list, which are also pretty large. There’s a lot of games you can play–hive the liabilities into a shell corporation and let it go bankrupt, etc. etc. and so forth.

  44. al-Ameda says:

    Excellent. I hope Trump is in for the long run, the entertainment value is tremendous.

  45. wr says:

    @JohnMcC: “Haven’t had that much fun since the pigs ate my little brother!”

    I don’t know where the hell that phrase comes from, but it made me laugh out loud!

  46. gVOR08 says:

    @superdestroyer: Gawd SD, you couldn’t try to work a little humor into even this one?

  47. jukeboxgrad says:

    wr:

    Trump actually has the potential to bring down the entire Republican party

    Yes. This is a good moment to recall that last time around, Trump took a turn as a front-runner (4/29/11):

    Trump leads the Republican field, according to a new national poll

    Trump’s nuttiness is a perfect fit for the nutty base, and they’re going to give him plenty of love, again. Here’s a fresh headline at NR: “Witless Ape Rides Escalator.” He is then described as a “ridiculous buffoon … grunting like a baboon.” Some readers agree, but it’s also not hard to find comments like this:

    Methinks the writer doth protest too much. Name another candidate who has taken the position that the influx of Mexico’s human refuse is not a benefit to this nation. That alone makes him worthy to lead this nation.

    And this:

    In watching Trump today there was nothing I could disagree with at all. He may been long winded, meandering, and at time inartful, but he was right. … Trump is an icon in this country and it would be a mistake to underrate his impact on this race.

    The Republicans who see Trump as a “Witless Ape” are going to have their hands full dealing with the Republicans who see Trump as “worthy to lead this nation.” Here’s what will happen over and over again: he will make a radical statement, and the other candidates will be under pressure to repudiate him. But when they do so, they will be alienating their base.

    So it’s going to be a spectacular show. And the damage to the GOP will probably be large, because he’s going to make sure the whole country gets to see that the core of the GOP is just as vile as he is.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    I also think I remember Trump saying something about having Oprah as V.P.

    For those of us on the left, the funniest part of all of this will be watching the “serious” candidates on the right try to figure out how to deal with Trump. I bet they’ll ignore him as much as possible, but he’s already up in the polling higher than Fiorina, Santorum, and a mess of the others.

  49. superdestroyer says:

    @gVOR08:

    Donald Trump is the 23-hr news cycle version of crack cocaine and it does not seem that the media can put down the figurative pipe.

  50. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Hey, when superdestroyer is right, he’s right…..

  51. Gromitt Gunn says:

    For what it’s worth, my elder white GOP voting Mom is annoyed that Jeb is running because he’s too moderate, and was laughing along with Trump today during the portions of the speech that they aired on the evening news.

  52. Ron Beasley says:

    @John Peabody: I watched most of it and came to the conclusion it had been written by someone at The Onion.

  53. JWH says:

    I lasted about three minutes into the speech. Dear God. This man is running for the GOP nomination?

  54. charon says:

    He should be great for the TV ratings. If I am the PTB at Fox News, I really do want him in the debates.

  55. mike shupp says:

    Do we have a horse running for Consol yet? The rear end of a horse, you say. But I insist on the WHOLE horse. Only then we will equal our illustrious predecessors,