JONATHAN CHAIT APRIL 22, 2011
The last time Donald Trump threatened to run for president, in 1999, I wrote a bit about him in a Diarist for TNR:
Robertson is not the only one to benefit from Buchanan's radioactivity. It has also allowed Donald Trump to portray himself as a sane alternative. "It's just a wacko vote," he says of Buchanan's supporters, "and I just can't imagine that anybody can take him seriously." In one recent op-ed, Trump wrote that Buchanan "says stupid things" and then went on to threaten a preemptive bombing of North Korea. The basis for Trump's candidacy, aside from his opposition to Buchanan, is the tired conceit of the businessman-hero: "Having prevailed over a severe (and largely government-created) setback in my own industry, I know the tough decisions a chief executive has to make to return to prosperity." Of course, the life-metaphor argument also suggests another possibility: that, if we elected Trump, he would take the best years of our national life and then dump us to go be president of a younger, more beautiful country, such as Fiji.
Now Chris Rock is stealing my joke!