Ronald Kessler reports: If you wonder whether Donald Trump is serious about running for president, tune in to the finale of “The Celebrity Apprentice” on May 22.
Trump plans to say on the NBC show that he will be holding a press conference in the next few days. At that press conference in the Trump Tower in New York, Trump will be announcing whether he will run for the presidency.
Even then, many will snicker that it’s all a publicity stunt. But that defies the facts and common sense.
Of all the people on the planet, Donald Trump is the last person who needs more publicity. And if he is riding a groundswell of support, why would he-or anyone else-decide not to run?
Since writing the first story in January to report that Trump will definitely run, I have been amazed at how much the idea of a Trump presidency is catching on across the political spectrum. As I wrote in my story, Don’t Underestimate Donald Trump for President, he can be outrageous and boastful. But when it comes to a successful run at the presidency, don’t count him out.
Watching him on TV, you never got a sense until recently that Trump is a conservative. But those who know him best say he has long held hard-core conservative beliefs on fiscal and national security issues. After a recent chat with Trump, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee and an arch conservative, found him “credible.”
“If I run and if I win, this country will be respected again,” Trump promised to wild applause at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
What motivates Trump is his disgust with President Obama, whom he considers a “disaster.” Instead of using euphemisms to describe terrorists, as the Obama administration has done, “I would go after terrorists like nobody in history,” Trump tells me.
Hungry for a change from politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouth, people appreciate Donald’s take-no-prisoners solutions to the problems the country faces. They figure that a guy who has amassed a fortune of $2.4 billion can be trusted to handle the economy and foreign affairs.
Unlike other Republican candidates, Donald will have the media on his side. Most important, based on the way he comes across on his TV show, people simply like and admire him.
A Republican operative who is impressed by him asked me whether Trump has any problems.
“Does he drink?” he asked.
To those who know Donald, that is humorous. As Donald told me this week, he has never had a drink in his life. Then he added with a chuckle, “But I have other problems.”
No doubt those problems, including womanizing between marriages, will come out. But what will also become clear-as depicted recently on “The Oprah Show”-is that he has been a model father to his five kids.
No matter how involved he is in a conference or a negotiation, he always takes their calls.
Every morning, Trump reads the papers with his 4-year-old Barron, commenting on developments. His devotion to his kids and loyalty to friends speak volumes about his character.
From talking with him, I can tell that he has thought through the details of running. Agree with him or not, those who think Trump is pulling a publicity stunt have trouble grasping the novelty of a non-politician caring enough about his country to run for president.