Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
A series of e-mails from the tax-exempt 527 group "Should Trump Run?" is attempting to stoke new speculation about—and donations to—another campaign for The Donald.
This is happening.
Despite being out of the race for over six months, and the fact that his original campaign was largely viewed as an unserious publicity ploy, and the fact that he's been threatening a real run for the White House for over a decade now without ever actually doing it, the political Trump is back in full force. He's moderating a Republican debate in Iowa at the end of December. On Monday, he made a public appearance with Newt Gingrich in New York City. Today sees the release of his new book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, which "Should Trump Run?" founder and The Donald's personal "pit bull" Michael Cohen calls "a very political book."
Would it surprise you to learn that "Should Trump Run?", an organization that lists its purpose as, "To explore the possibility/determine support and solicit funds to draft Donald J. Trump to run for President of the United States," only became a tax-exempt 527 organization in September, four months after Trump officially dropped out of the race?
Would it surprise you to learn that "Should Trump Run?" sent out an e-mail notifying recipients that Trump's new book was released today, and included an Amazon link to purchase it?
Would it surprise you to learn that the e-mail was signed by Donald J. Trump? You know, the guy being "drafted" by the organization that was started by his right-hand man?
Could Trump be dangling a presidential run in an effort to sell books?
Still forthcoming is any evidence that this is not a publicity stunt or simply a means to fleece gullible donors. The IRS filing form submitted in September establishing the group as a 527 organization lists its e-mail address as "no@email". It is never explained how donating money to "Should Trump Run?" would help convince a man who boasts that he could privately finance a campaign backed by his $7 billion net worth.
The website itself looks like a Geocities holdover. Featuring almost nothing that could be mistaken for information, the most eye-catching aspect of the home page is its red, pulsating "DONATE NOW!" button. In the background, the Seal of the President of the United States, normally a perfect circle, appears as an oval for some reason.
You can "Send an email to Mr. Trump!" which is really just filling out a bunch of text fields and letting a few bits of personal information disappear into the ether. There is no contact information anywhere.
But if you donate, he might run! Maybe pick up his book, see if you like his ideas, and when you get tired of all the other Republicans, throw a few bucks Donald's way. If enough people come to the same conclusion, Donald will pore over the data from "Should Trump Run?" and make an informed decision about an independent candidacy. America can't wait for strong leadership. So how soon can we expect Trump to answer the call, assuming it comes?
Michael Cohen says that all the pieces are in place for a Trump run the minute he says the word. It's a decision that will come “in the first week in June.”
June. It is December. This is happening.