Real estate mogul and celebrity Donald Trump announced his decision today to jump into the crowded GOP field running for the 2016 nomination for president. The New York Times offered the following report:
Donald J. Trump, the garrulous real estate developer whose name has adorned apartment buildings, hotels, Trump-brand neckties and Trump-brand steaks, announced on Tuesday his entry into the 2016 presidential race, brandishing his wealth and fame as chief qualifications in an improbable quest for the Republican nomination.
Mr. Trump declared his candidacy in the atrium of Trump Tower, the luxury skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in New York City, proclaiming that only someone “really rich” – like himself – could restore American economic primacy.
While many consider Trump's candidacy improbably at best, the Times does suggest he could have some impact on the 2016 nomination contest:
It seems a remote prospect that Republicans, stung in 2012 by the caricature of their nominee, Mitt Romney, as a pampered and politically tone-deaf financier, would rebound by nominating a real estate magnate who has published books with titles such as, “Think Like a Billionaire” and “Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich — And Why Most Don’t.”
But Mr. Trump, who has never held elected office, may not be so easily confined to the margins of the 2016 campaign. Thanks to his enormous media profile, he stands a good chance of qualifying for nationally televised debates, where his appetite for combat and skill at playing to the gallery could make him a powerfully disruptive presence...
Over at the Washington Post fact-checker Philip Bump assesses both the style and substance of Trump's announcement:
Nothing in Donald Trump's funhouse-mirror presidential campaign announcement Tuesday made sense. Why did he ride down an escalator to get there? Why did he pick Neil Young for his entrance? Why did Neil Young play again over the tepid applause that greeted his official announcement? And: Why did he stray so far from his already amazing prepared remarks?
The unsatisfying answer to all of those questions is the same: Because he's Donald Trump...
There were 91 prepared words before he announced his candidacy. Instead, he took at least 1,700...
Bump then reviews several of Trump's more questionable statements regarding GDP growth, unemployment, and health insurance deductibles, before apparently giving up on the entire notion of fact-checking his announcement speech:
This is the whole thing about fact-checking Donald Trump: He is un-fact-checkable. That's his gift and his angle. As he made clear today, he says whatever he wants for as long as he wants, because, why not? If I sat down with him and said that he was wrong on GDP or wrong on premiums, he would call me a hater and a loser and disparage my dog or something. Who knows. Who knows!
Treating Trump's arguments as serious is like treating Siri's arguments as serious. He's programmed to talk about how he's the best and President Obama is the worst and he can fix everything. "Donald, what time is it?" "I can tell you because I own the biggest, most luxurious watch in the world," etc. etc.
So here's the fact-check: Much of what Trump said is nonsense. But you knew that.
Over at Bloomberg Politics, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann break down Trump's candidacy and chances at the nomination:
What he’s got: Nearly universal name recognition; demonstrated ability to excite and intrigue the American public; grassroots fervor; an en vogue outsider résumé and rap; power to get on TV and make news almost at will; capacity to draw big crowds; determination; confidence.
What he lacks: Political experience; national security experience; credibility with elites; detailed or consistent policy views; an obvious way to overcome the deep skepticism that he is, once and for all, serious about a presidential run...
Perceived electability as Republican nominee: Titanic doubts among almost everyone who closely follows presidential politics—except for him...
Trump enters the race with significant name recognition, celebrity status, and a reputation as a successful businessman, which can be helpful in establishing a base of support. The challenge for Trump will be expanding beyond that segment of the party for whom those three assets are sufficient to garner their support.