Skip to comments.Trump Endorsement: Newt Gingrich Dodged Bullet by Losing His Support (Mild Barf Alert)
Posted on 02/03/2012 10:25:30 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
After erroneous reports Wednesday night that Donald Trump was preparing to endorse Newt Gingrich for the 2012 presidential election in Las Vegas Thursday, the reality TV star and real estate mogul came out for Mitt Romney instead.
With such a media-grabbing endorsement two days before the Nevada caucus on Saturday, some analysts say Newt Gingrich has missed out on a great opportunity to keep in the race.
In reality, however, the reality TV star and real estate mogul is the last person Gingrich wants on his side.
Trump Planning 'Major Announcement'
Trump, who once considered running for the Republican nomination and offered to moderate a debate back in 2011, tweeted last week that he had a "major announcement" about the race coming on Thursday at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas.
Trump declined to say what the 12:30 p.m. announcement would be about, but news sources like KLAS-TV and The New York Times asserted that Gingrich would be his pick.
But one hour before the announcement, CNN.com received word that Donald Trump would be supporting Mitt Romney instead, and Trump did so.
The Donald and The Newt
Donald Trump's decision to support Mitt Romney over Newt Gingrich comes as a surprise to those who've been following the GOP 2012 primary race.
Trump and Gingrich have a comfortable history together, and frequently defend each other against attacks lobbed at them by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Back in December, when his fellow presidential hopefuls where busy boycotting the scheduled Trump-moderated debate, Newt Gingrich stepped in to defend the real estate mogul from Ron Paul's claims that he would turn the debate into an "unwanted, circus-like atmosphere."
"This is a country that elected a peanut farmer [Jimmy Carter] to the presidency," AP quoted Gingrich as saying.
"Donald Trump is a great showman; he's also a great businessman," he said, before praising Trump for his innovation. "We need to be open to new ways of doing things."
Trump, in turn, had nothing but good things to say about Gingrich on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
"He's got great ideas," Trump said of Gingrich. "He's very smart, he's very tough and he is a great debater."
Gingrich's Much-Needed Media Push
Now that Trump is supporting Mitt Romney, some pundits are already calling the endorsement a huge setback for Gingrich, whose momentum in the race has been seriously hurt by a humiliating second-place finish in Florida.
An endorsement by one of the richest men in the world could have given Newt Gingrich enough funds to take on Romney's impressive backing by the Koch brothers, who are prepped to give billions to the former governor's campaign.
No one can deny, meanwhile, that Donald Trump is a media magnet. With Romney heavily favored to win in Nevada, Gingrich will need to stay in the spotlight in order to continue on in the race. Trump's endorsement would guarantee it.
The Problem(s) With Donald Trump
But the damage a Trump endorsement could have done to Gingrich's fragile chances are far more significant than whatever help the reality TV star's support might have given him.
Donald Trump is an exceedingly unpopular man. Recent polls put him at around 48 percent unfavorability, and that's a number that has risen since he retreated from any talk of running for the presidency. When Trump began toying with a possible candidacy last spring, his disapproval rating shot up to 70 percent and stayed there.
And every time Trump has tried to get involved in Republican politics, such as his well-publicized and notorious backing of the birther movement, his efforts to make himself relevant again have only resulted in derision by the other candidates, particularly Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
When Trump was forced to bow out of moderating a GOP debate after almost all the candidates announced they would boycott the event, the billionaire left the Republican Party, and has since floated the idea of a third party run if the "wrong candidate" is picked at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
"My preference is to endorse somebody," he told Fox News, "... but I also love this country and we have to get somebody who is going to do that." That somebody, he continued to assert, was probably him.
Announcement Set Before 'Apprentice' Premiere
But even if Donald Trump hadn't become a political nonentity for his bombastic outbursts (he once called Paul "clown-like" and support for him "a waste of time"), the TV host's business background could still have hurt Gingrich's chances.
Donald Trump is less known today as a real estate titan than as the man behind reality TV show "The Apprentice."
The latest season starts Feb. 19, a date which has likely influenced his decision to make a grand announcement this week, and stands as further proof of how much stock Trump puts in making a splashy entrance.
But the biggest liability that comes from a Trump endorsement may be just what has given Gingrich a chance in Nevada: Mitt Romney's quote that he's "not concerned about the very poor."
Newt Gingrich jumped on that comment the moment it went viral, firing back at his rival and accusing Romney of trying to split the nation.
"I am fed up with politicians in either party dividing Americans against each other," Gingrich told reporters in Nevada. "I am running to be president of all the American people and I am concerned about all of the American people."
Getting a nod from one of the most notorious, and notoriously wealthy, businessmen out there could have made Gingrich's btiing comeback smack of hypocrisy, not righteous indignation.
Newt Gingrich is already considered a far less sincere and authentic a candidate by Americans than 2012 rival Mitt Romney. Gaining support from a man whose word sometimes seems as fake as his hair wasn't likely to help matters.
Gingrich Stays Aloof
Those reservations may be why Gingrich himself avoided making any comment on a possible Trump endorsement, not even bothering to say that he would welcome it if it came.
"I have no idea what the Donald is going to do," he told the Las Vegas Sun following a rally in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday.
"He is always interesting, and I don't know of anybody who does a better job of getting attention by announcing that he will presently announce something."
Now that Donald Trump appears poised to back Romney instead, Gingrich may even be able to turn losing an endorsement into a powerful weapon, arguing that Trump's support is a mark against Romney, not for him. Voters already know that Ron Paul, who's become something of a Gingrich fan of late, would agree on that score.
Remember this...Trump voted for Obama in 2008. I heard Trump admit this.
It’s a good thing that Trump loves his TV show so much; he keeps teasing that he “might” get in the race later...well, now that we know where he stands (RINO), he might as well renew his contract for his show.
Well, I always go with whatever celebs are for because I want to be hip and kewl, too! My leg is all a tingle in anticipation of who the Kardashians’ will be supporting.
"Please explain to us why anyone would care," the email said. "Please explain why [Nevadan voters] should consider the opinion of a billionaire from New York who endorsed the arch enemy of all Republicans in Nevada, and really the enemy of all Republicans in the U.S."
Why should anyone consider the opinion of a billionaire from New York who endorsed a billionaire from MA?
And donated to Rahm Emanuel, and Harry Reid, and Hillary Clinton, and Charles Rangel, and Chuckie Schumer.....
“GOP . . . soon to become the ‘Party of the Rich and Famous’”
and I don’t know why!
It may well turn out that Newt is better off without the Donald’s endorsement.
Interestingly, Trump said he would not run if Romney won the Republican Nomination. Trump may have said that because Romney has more money than him to spend and Romney might be the only one Trump can’t outspend. Suppose Newt pulls it off — or Santorum who is expected to win the Missouri Race takes it, will we have a Trump candidacy?