The voters of America have been denied the opportunity to inform Donald Trump that he’s “fired” after the entrepreneur and host of The Apprentice withdrew his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
A campaign which never strayed too far from the brink of farce, but nonetheless briefly saw Trump reach second place in polls, ended last night with the release of a statement saying that he’d decided “after considerable deliberation” on remain focused on his reality TV career.
“This decision does not come easily or without regret, especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders,” he said. “ I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.”
Cynics had always detected a whiff of a PR stunt about Trump’s alleged run for the White House. He has, after all, made headline-grabbing comments about standing for office in the run-up to previous elections, only to withdraw before putting money where his mouth is.
The zenith of his latest bid came last month, when he toured rolling-news studios voicing scepticism over whether Barack Obama was born in the USA. At the time, roughly fifty percent of Republican voters believed a conspiracy theory that he was actually born in Kenya.
Fuelling their suspicious, Trump told interviewers that he had dispatched a team of “investigators” to Hawaii to examine Obama’s birth. However the existence of that team was never verified, and it later emerged that they hadn't bothered to examine State birth records.
That didn’t seem to phase Republican voters, though, and for a period Trump was polling around 20 percent, putting him second in a field of contenders for the nomination.
When the “birther” issue started to impact upon the mainstream news agenda, the White House agreed to publish the President’s long form birth certificate.
Critics subsequently said Trump’s “birther” campaign stoked dog-whistle racism. Asked to respond to that allegation, he told an interviewer: “I have a great releationship with the blacks.” Shortly afterwards, his poll rating slumped to around six percent.
The property entrepreneur's "small government" ticket also sparked allegations of hypocrisy, since many of his business schemes rely on public subsidy. And while he preaches fiscal responsibility, a string of Trump developments have gone bankrupt in recent years.
Perhaps the most memorable chapter in Trump's 2012 bid, came at last month’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner, when he was subjected to sustained ridicule in comic speeches by Barack Obama and the comedian Seth Meyers.
“Donald Trump said that he was running for president as a Republican. That's funny, because I thought he was running as a joke,” said Meyers.