The Donald is officially out of the running for the GOP’s 2012 nomination. Donald Trump’s withdrawal comes less than a week after Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul officially declared they would run for president, and just two days after Mike Huckabee’s Saturday announcement that he wouldn’t, in which he channeled Christina Aguilera’s lyricist: “All the factors say go, but my heart says no.”
In a statement Monday, Trump said his decision was based on his desire to stay in the private sector (and, presumably, on his reality show Celebrity Apprentice), rather than any doubt in his qualifications. “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election,” he said. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP candidates.]
And disappointment is registering among Trump’s fans on the Web. A Facebook page dedicated to supporting him—“Should Donald Trump Run For President in 2012?”—is filled with comments from frustrated fans, like the user typing under the name Bobby Clerici. “The one guy most qualified to unseat Obama is out,” Clerici wrote. “All we are left with are lightweights who can't beat Obama. This is indeed a low point in GOP politics.”
But U.S. News columnist Robert Schlesinger doesn’t think Trump ever had a chance. “Donald Trump, entertainer-turned-pol, was never going to be the second coming of Ronald Reagan,” he writes, suggesting Trump’s brief flirtation with the top slot of presidential polls took a beating because President Obama released his long-form birth certificate and announced Osama bin Laden’s demise. Last month's results from Public Policy Polling pegged Trump with 26 percent of Republican support, but the same presidential preference poll last week gave Trump only 8 percent. Some, like the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, have suggested Trump’s high numbers were due primarily to name recognition rather than a serious faith in the business mogul’s chances. “While it might be fun to tell a pollster that Trump is your pick,” Cillizza said, “his inconsistent record, complicated finances, and, well, complicated personal life would be a gold mine for his opponents’ campaigns.”
What do you think? Would Trump have won the 2012 GOP nomination? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.
--Mallie Jane Kim