The day that countless savvy, jaded political observers thought would never come finally has: Donald Trump announced his presidential run on Tuesday at the Trump Plaza (duh) in New York City, marking the first time he's actually thrown his hat in the ring, after years and years of flirting with a political bid. He'll be running as a candidate in the already chock-full GOP primary field, and if his past history of outrageous statements, boisterous tweets and bombastic personal flair is any indication, this could be something of a roller coaster ride. "Politicians are all talk, no action," he noted during his Tuesday announcement.
"Our country needs a truly great leader and we need a truly great leader now," Trump noted, in a not-so-subtle reference to Trump himself being that great leader. The implication is obvious — Trump considers himself America's savior in a time of deep political uncertainty, a confidence which now will really, truly and finally be put to the test.
Trump, 69, joins fellow Republican Carly Fiorina as career private sector executives vying for the White House, with neither of them having ever held political office. That could prove to be a problem in a field crowded with Senators and Governors who're entirely viable — your Marco Rubios, your Scott Walkers and so forth — but rest assured, Trump will be an engaging presence on the campaign trail, if nothing else.
Lest we forget, Trump is a uniquely problematic figure, and carries perhaps more baggage in terms of past on-the-record statements that any of the other Republicans running — no small feat, frankly speaking.
In 2012, he stoked rumors he might run more or less entirely on the basis of his embrace of birtherism, insisting that he'd sent investigators to Hawaii to expose the President's claim of U.S. citizenship. The bravado never paid off in anything, to be clear — he never did reveal what his alleged investigators allegedly turned up, even after claiming that "they cannot believe what they're finding." Despite this, he still apparently isn't convinced that Obama is an American, questioning his citizenship as recently as 2014. He's also waged similar attacks on GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
He's also suggested Obama lied about his birth to get college financial aid, has promoted scientifically groundless scare stories about vaccination, said that he'd curse out OPEC to keep oil prices low, and throughout dire economic straits furthered a personal brand around the catchphrase "you're fired!"
Suffice to say, he is not a perfect candidate, but he is absolutely the candidate that our modern times deserves. Here's hoping he sticks around for a while. I wrote back in February that I'd be surprised if a candidate Trump even stayed in the race through the Iowa caucus, on the grounds that he wouldn't be willing to turn in a dismal finish if the writing's on the wall. But make no mistake, I hope he's in this thing for the long haul — this is political novelty that you can't put a price on.
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