Having lived and worked in New York City the past two years, I have noted two prominent takes on Donald Trump. He’s seen as either a real estate mogul with disputable taste, or an entertainer with disputable talent. But in the past year, Trump has been developing a third identity, that of a publicity hound. His brand has devolved to where it can be summarized by one word: joke—and not a very funny one at that. The media’s treatment of his endorsement of Mitt Romney reflected as much. Romney’s obvious discomfort in accepting begs the question: did he really need it?
The Romney camp did not want more endorsements from outside-the-establishment types like Sarah Palin and Hermain Cain going to his opponents. Trump brings little to the table, but he does give Romney one less headache to deal with. Or so he thinks. Trump could, if it suits him, take his endorsement back if it helps his show’s ratings.
Endorsements are very much a part of the nomination process. Usually, they establish credibility, build momentum and reinforce a candidate’s mantra. But Trump added nothing to Romney’s candidacy and may actually hurt him. After the silly birth certificate fiasco of last spring, everyone knew Trump was not going to run. He was no threat. There was no way he would divulge the details of his wealth or his taxes for the sake a presidential run. These publicity antics have more to do with his show than the good of the country.
This should have been Romney’s best week, winning Florida and likely Nevada, and with Gingrich showing no class in losing. Instead, Romney makes a verbal gaffe about not caring about the poor that reinforces the perception of being out of touch, and gets The Donald’s endorsement. No wonder Obama can sing a good tune.