Donald Trump, businessman, celebrity, and author has endorsed Mitt Romney for President, and stated he wouldn’t mount an independent campaign if Romney secures the nomination.
On Thursday Donald Trump and Mitt Romney held a brief joint press conference in Trump’s Las Vegas hotel. Trump praised Romney for being tough, smart, and sharp. “He’s not going to continue to allow bad things to happen to this country” and then told Romney and his wife to “Get out and get ’em. You can do it.”
In response Romney praised Trump for having “an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works and to create jobs” and for being “one of the few who has stood up to say China is cheating” in international trade.
Nevada’s caucuses take place this Saturday. Romney has won two of the first four contests, winning the primaries in New Hampshire and Florida by healthy margins, though both focused heavily on negative campaigning, which might backfire in the fall. Gingrich won South Carolina’s primary, and former Senator Rick Santorum won Iowa’s caucuses.
It’s unclear how much this endorsement will have on voters. A Pew survey found 64% of definite and likely GOP voters would not be swayed by an endorsement from the reality television star, another 13% of likely GOP voters said it would make them more likely to back a candidate, while 20% of likely GOP voters said it would make them less likely to vote for a candidate.
This might undermine Newt Gingrich’s assertion that it is the Washington establishment out to stop him (Gingrich) in their effort to nominate Romney. “Endorsements rarely sway voters,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said. Then added, “The Trump endorsement undermines (Newt) Gingrich’s argument that it is just the Washington establishment that is out to stop him and nominate Romney. Trump is the ultimate outsider.”
What’s interesting about this endorsement is that it appears to have occurred at the last minute. The day before endorsing Romney there were reports that Trump would be endorsing his rival, Newt Gingrich.
This doesn’t eliminate the possibility that Trump might run an independent campaign in the fall if Romney doesn’t secure the Republican nomination. Last year Trump flirted with running for the Republican nomination, but after being roundly criticized for pushing the discredited birther issue, dropped out of the race.
In December Trump left the Republican Party after a planned presidential debate he was scheduled to host fell apart, in the process becoming a favorite target of late night talk show hosts.