Two days before the Nevada caucuses — and weeks away from the start of the fifth season of Celebrity Apprentice — business mogul Donald Trump craved some of the spotlight being heaped on GOP presidential rivals Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. So, under the guise of announcing an endorsement, he hit up Vegas Thursday afternoon to grab some of that shine.
The early betting was that Gingrich would be the chosen one. He was, after all, the one candidate to enthusiastically accept an invitation to the Trump debate that ultimately was cancelled because most of the others in the Republican race just said no — or in the case of Jon Huntsman, hell no. But, it turns out, Trump rolled the dice in Romney’s favor.
“Mitt is tough, he’s smart, he’s not going to allow bad things to happen to this country that we all love. So Gov. Romney, go out and get ‘em. You can do it,” Trump said.
The scenario pretty much had political observers collectively ROTFL. Wasn’t it Trump who called Romney “a basically small business guy, if you think about it,” in an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley? “He was a hedge fund. He was a funds guy. He walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn't create. He worked there. He didn't create it."
He also said in a Fox News interview that he “wasn’t in love with the job [Romney] did in Massachusetts. He wasn’t popular; he was a one-term governor; he didn’t have high approval ratings.”
Of the endorsement, Romney said, “There are some things you just can’t imagine happening in your life. This is one of them.” That kind of sounded like code for OMG.
There's also the timing. The optics of a rich guy, who just this week said that he's not "concerned about the very poor," getting props from another rich guy is not a pretty picture. The birther issue is a whole other story.
Ron Paul’s campaign released a statement that asked, “Please explain to us why anyone would care” about the endorsement and he may be onto something. Sixty-four percent of definite and likely Republican voters in a Pew Research Center survey taken last month said that a Trump endorsement would have no influence on their decision.
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(Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)