Open thread: Trump endorses Romney; Update: Video added; Update: Trump discusses endorsement
posted at 3:33 pm on February 2, 2012 by Allahpundit
It’s set to air any minute now so turn on your cable news net of choice. I can’t stress enough what a letdown it’ll be if this thing doesn’t turn into an utter fiasco on par with the final few Weiner pressers last year. I keep imagining Trump bringing Romney out onstage … and then shocking him by endorsing Newt. Or announcing a third-party run. C’mon. Awesome.
Updates are coming, so stand by.
Update: How much are Democrats enjoying this spectacle? Well, here’s Carney making the obligatory “combover” joke at today’s briefing…
…and, via Greg Hengler, here’s lifelike talking-points robot Debbie Wasserman-Schultz trying out a new class-warfare-themed zinger from the DNC’s writing team…
…and, not to be outdone, here’s the DNC ad team piling on.
Update: A spurned Newt is having fun with Trump’s signature line today too:
While his archrival Mitt Romney was getting an endorsement in the GOP presidential race from real estate mogul Donald Trump, Mr. Gingrich was speaking at Xtreme Manufacturing, a company that makes telescoping forklifts, delivery trucks and cubes that can be used for everything from living space to laboratories. He start off with “some fascinating differences” between himself and Mitt Romney. “Let me say first of all that I like hiring people,” he said, in a dig at the former Massachusetts governor. Mr. Romney made headlines last month for saying he liked “firing people” when talking about health-care companies that fail to provide good service…
“Mitt Romney and Barack Obama seem to believe that a safety net is all the poor need,” Mr. Gingrich said. “What the poor need is a trampoline so they can spring up.”…
Mr. Gingrich, for instance, often says those receiving unemployment assistance should have to enroll in business training programs. Meantime, Mr. Gingrich brushed off reports that Mr. Trump is supporting Mr. Romney. While touring the factory, Mr. Gingrich said he hadn’t expected the endorsement and wondered aloud how the star of reality TV show “Celebrity Apprentice” manages to garner so much attention.
Newt is a better fit for Trump, but I guess it was more important to Trump to perpetuate the illusion that he has the midas touch by backing the likely nominee than to throw in with the newly minted populist. Question: Will Newt’s populist turn entice him into hitting Romney on this or is he too exposed from the big money his Super PAC’s getting from billionaire Sheldon Adelson?
Update: And just like that, it’s over after five minutes. I’ll add video when it’s available but the money line from Mitt was, “It means a great deal for me to have the endorsement of Mr. Trump.” Conservatives are grumbling on Twitter that he shouldn’t have stooped to doing this but I don’t think he had a choice. If he refused to kiss the ring, Trump would have spent the next nine months attacking him publicly on oafishly over-the-top populist grounds. There’s a market for that, and with the election likely to be close, Romney probably figured he’d better do whatever he can now to avoid losing any support on his right flank. Special thanks to all the grassroots voters who briefly made Trump the GOP frontrunner last year; without that fleeting benediction of him as some sort of serious political player, this spectacle wouldn’t have happened.
Update: Another line that Romney evidently felt obliged to say: “I spent my life in the private sector — not quite as successful as this guy, but successful nonetheless.”
Update: Here’s the clip via Fox News Insider. Ben Smith of BuzzFeed tweeted that it looked like a hostage tape.
Update: In case you’re hungry for more, here’s Trump with Cavuto immediately after the presser.