A nation turns its lonely eyes to the Donald Trump POTUS exploratory committee

Confession: I’ve never watched a single episode of “The Apprentice” from beginning to end. I’ve seen plenty of clips from the show, primarily because television news loves talking about television shows more than anything else, or so it seems. This isn’t a criticism of the show or those who enjoy it… I mean, I watch Finding Bigfoot and Ancient Aliens so I really can’t be throwing stones here. But the Apprentice just isn’t the sort of thing that was going to draw me in as a viewer.

Hopefully I won’t come to regret not seeing the show, because I’ve apparently missed my chance. The Donald is walking away from his deal with NBC to focus on the somewhat less reality TV oriented idea of getting his presidential campaign exploratory committee into gear.

Donald Trump will launch a presidential exploratory committee Wednesday, the eve of the business mogul’s return to New Hampshire.

A senior adviser tells the New Hampshire Union Leader that Trump will not be renewing his contract with NBC for the reality television “Apprentice” series.

Combined with staff hires, Trump’s announcement that he will form an exploratory committee for the first time is a sign the billionaire is seriously considering running for the Republican nomination.

Trump’s opening salvo this morning is, well… pretty much classic Donald.

“I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble. We have lost the respect of the entire world. Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians – who are all talk and no action! I have built a great company, created thousands of jobs and built a tremendous net worth with some of the finest and most prestigious assets in the world – and very little debt! All Americans deserve the same opportunity. Our real unemployment rate is staggering while our manufacturing base is eroding on a daily basis. We must rebuild our infrastructure, control our borders, support local control of education, greatly strengthen our military, care for our veterans and put Americans back to work! We must stop other countries from totally taking advantage of our representatives who are being out-negotiated at every turn. I am the only one who can make America truly great again!”

The standard theory about the Trump for President storyline is that it’s always vaporware. It’s similar to what we hear about Bloomberg, Pataki and Giuliani (with the obvious exception of the ill fated 2008 campaign.) I have no doubt that all three of them would like to be President, but they are also generally realistic enough to realize that their chances are fairly slim. But they all have a lot of business dealings going on all the time, and having your name being bounced around as a possible presidential contender is good for business.

So on the one hand, the same could be said about Trump. In fact, his business dealings likely dwarf all three of the others mentioned above. But it’s also worth noting that Donald is a guy who dreams big dreams and jumps into them with both feet when the mood takes him. If Trump sees some benefit to doing this I don’t think anyone should be surprised if he grabs for the brass ring. He’s got the money and the name recognition to launch a national effort (though staffing up at this late date would probably be an issue) and he clearly has the requisite ego to think he could pull it off.

Is it crazy? My first reaction is always to say yes, but you’ll recall that in the early days of the 2012 primary Trump was polling at the top of the class for a while. This year there’s not as much data to draw on. In our own survey, Trump shows up as a consensus candidate polling lower than “other” (though above Lindsey Graham, I would note) but nobody has really seen him as actually running. Most of the public polling, such as this most recent CNN survey, don’t even offer the Donald as an option. If he actually launches an exploratory committee and begins staffing up, they’ll have to start including his name.

Is it for real? Forming a committee isn’t all that expensive, particularly for somebody like Trump. If he goes so far as to declare and ask for a spot in the debates I’ll give it a second look.

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David Strom 6:41 PM on January 26, 2023