The brash and super-wealthy Donald Trump — who has suffered major financial ups and downs, owns gambling casinos and is thrice married — has shoved his way into the top tier of potential Republican challengers to President Obama next year.
His resume would ordinarily foreclose a run for America’s highest office, but the real estate mogul and reality television figure has used his celebrity to stand out in a crowded field with no obvious favourite. These days, he is ensuring a place in the spotlight by latching onto discredited claims that Obama, whose father was from Kenya, was born outside the US.
Regardless of Trump’s wealth and poll numbers, most political wisdom puts him as a very long shot to win the nomination and with virtually no chance of beating Obama in November 2012. Commentators on both sides of the political spectrum question whether Trump is just engaged in a publicity stunt.
Karl Rove, architect of George W Bush’s two presidential wins, has called Trump “a joke candidate” . Nevertheless, some polls show Trump is strongly challenging presumed Republican front-runner Mitt Romney , a former Massachusetts governor and a successful businessman himself. Trump still has not announced his candidacy.
Trump has has gotten the most political traction by latching onto the “birther” movement: those who believe claims initiated by the farright that Obama was born outside the US — despite the release of official birth records in Hawaii and other evidence.
In recent days, Trump has appeared in interviews on all the major American cable television networks, pushing relentlessly his message that Obama needs to prove he was born in the US. He points to his rising poll numbers as proof that Americans like what he is saying on that deeply divisive issue. “I’d like to have him show his birth certificate,” Trump said on NBC television. Agencies