During a conversation the other day, Donald Trump asked if I was surprised that he was doing so well in the presidential polls.
I was, I told him.
“I’ve had a lot of victories over the years,” he said.
“But you’ve never really played in this arena.”
He had certainly flirted before. Back in 1987, when I first met him in Trump Tower--“the hottest building in the world,” he assured me—The Donald was crowing about a visit to New Hampshire. “I got the best crowd, the best of everything in terms of reception,” he said. “People don’t want to be ripped off, and this country is being ripped off. I think if I ran, I’d win.” Pretty much the same refrain, and that was during the Reagan administration. A decade later, he made noises about running for the Reform Party nomination in 2000.
These days the right, led by Karl Rove, is counterattacking, and GOP strategists are openly skeptical. “Other than Trump himself, I doubt anyone is waking up every morning thinking, ‘If only Donald Trump were president,’” says Republican consultant strategist Todd Harris.
In this week’s NEWSWEEK, I take a look at Trump’s business and political record; he has liabilities that would sink most candidates, but somehow the force of his personality has managed to keep him at the top of the GOP polls. I've got to give him credit for answering the questions rather than retreating behind lawyers and terse statements. Of course, the media scrutiny hasn’t really begun in earnest, and we’re not really sure he’s running. But if you’re Donald Trump right now, it must be tempting.
What’s so bad about the IRS investigating nonprofit applications?