Republican primary voters are not going to have a chance to fire Donald Trump. He quit.
Ending months of circus-like speculation and breathless cable news hits, Trump announced Monday that he is not going to seek the GOP nomination.
“After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the presidency,” Trump said in a statement. “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election,” he said, an opinion not widely held among political operatives. “Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion, and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”
The buzz around Trump’s possible presidential campaign started around the season premier of his reality show “Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC, and ended just before the season finale. Coincidence? Perhaps, but it certainly lends credibility to those analysts who dismissed Trump’s political flirtations as a huge PR game all along.
Trump upended the GOP race, surging in primary polls with relentless demands that President Obama produce his “long-form” birth certificate, and insinuations that the president was not born in the U.S. and therefore ineligible to hold office. Trump also said that Obama did not strike him as very bright, and demanded that the White House release his college and law school transcripts.
At one point last month, there was a bizarre moment, when the networks broken into daytime programming so the president could release the long form certificate averring that he was, indeed, born in Hawaii in August of 1961. On a split screen, Trump was in New Hampshire, taking credit for the coup.
After the killing of Osama bin Laden May 2, Trump faded from the conversation and dropped in the polls.
On Saturday evening, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took himself out of the running on his own FOX News talk show. Huckabee, a Baptist minister, won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and has consistently topped many polls of the GOP primary electorate.