WASHINGTON – Isn’t America wonderful? Anyone can run for president. Anyone.
Once again, Donald Trump has wormed his way into the national conversation even though three-fourths of Americans say they would not consider him for a son-in-law, their boss or a next-door-neighbor, let alone as president.
Insisting he has a net worth of $8.7 billion, which experts say is trumped up by half, the serial monogamist and real estate developer whose casinos once claimed bankruptcy told us that he is “really rich” and has all kinds of ideas for restoring America’s greatness.
Such as: slamming immigrants, alienating the Chinese, insulting Mexico, poking Vladimir Putin in the eye, taking away health insurance from millions of Americans, ordering U.S. corporations such as Ford to stop building overseas factories, and beefing up America’s nuclear arsenals, presumably to start another arms race.
“I don’t have to brag,” he said after bragging for an hour. “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” He did not say how. Presumably, new job holders would be watering his golf greens, parking cars at his casinos and cleaning cigarette butts from his hotel lobbies. He boasted that he hires techs to create websites for him for $3.
(Note: Trump has yet to disclose his financial statement, a complicated and time-consuming requirement for all federal candidates.)
Trump, he of the neon orange halo of hair and the obliviousness of a sleeping vineyard tender during an eruption on Mount Etna, is good at making money, bloviating nonsense that a fringe of non-thinking people want to believe and ridiculing everyone else. He has been publicly toying with running for president since 1988. He is most recently famous for falsely insisting President Obama is not a legal citizen.
Trump does not say how he, miracle of miracles, would get Washington to work. He disparages the other Republicans in the race for, he said mockingly, coming to him, hat in hand, begging for his support.
Trump does not actually provide any concrete details for anything except to demonstrate that he is The Donald when it comes to self-promotion. And he likes to fire people. (If he’s still running this autumn, NBC will drop his reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.”)
In his embarrassingly inarticulate ad-libbed announcement speech, Trump said Mexico and other Latin American countries purposefully send us drug dealers, rapists and murderers and should be forced to build and pay for a huge wall on the southern U.S. border.
The good news is that Trump is not asking for donations for his impossible dream of being the boss of the nation. He will fund his own campaign and doesn’t need your measly $2,500, thank you very much, you pathetic would-be donors.
The bad news is that he will get into the first GOP debate Aug. 6, which Fox News is hosting with Facebook and has insisted will include only the top 10 among the plethora of Republican candidates. (Should it be pride of candidates? Herd? Pack? Congregation? Colony? Swarm? Litter? Flock? Wreck? Drove? Quiver? Brood? Bevy? Raft? Covey? Cackle? Rhumba? All of the above?)
CNN announced it would hold a GOP debate among the top 10 contenders Sept. 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California and another for everyone else getting at least 1 percent of public polls. (Guess which one advertisers are clamoring to sponsor and guess which will feature commercials for male enhancement drugs and former IRS agents hanging out their own shingles.)
Thus, Trump will kick a serious contender out of the debates and get a platform to bully everyone else.
Trump will never and should never be president. But he is good for media people combatting summer doldrums. And the first debate? Hey, it will occur in the dog days of August!
It will mean nothing. Somebody figured out that in a 90-minute debate with 10 people on stage, each candidate gets 41/2 minutes to speak.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.