In the Spotlight

News & Features
Trump Holds His Cards
by Laura McCallum
January 7, 2000
Click for audio RealAudio 3.0

Donald Trump says there's a very good possibility he'll run for president as a Reform Party candidate. Trump was in Minnesota to speak to business leaders and address Governor Ventura's first post-election fundraiser. Trump says if he decides to run, he'll ask for Ventura's endorsement.

TRUMP IS EXPECTED to decide next month whether to enter the race, and says he's weighing whether he can realistically win.
Trump: If I get 20 percent of the vote, big deal. People say "great job" for 24 hours, and not that it's a bad place, but I'm back at my office at Trump Tower the following Wednesday.
Trump says if he runs, he'll ask for Governor Ventura's support. Trump says Ventura is a winner who will be a dominant force in the Reform Party. The two held a joint news conference, where they criticized a decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates that a candidate must get 15 percent support in national polls to be included in the fall debates. Ventura called the rule "despicable," and charged the commission with trying to keep the Reform Party out of debates.
"His constituency, if he decides to run, would come, I think , partially from people that would be made up of small business owners and entrepreneurs."

- Tom Snell, executive director of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce
Ventura: I think it's a clear case of them fearing there could be another Jesse Ventura, and that they're going to stop it anyway they can, because at the point of the primary, I was only polling 10 percent. Which means if you went by their criteria, I would not have been allowed to debate, and subsequently would not have won the election.
Trump says the two major parties are afraid to debate the Reform Party nominee. He also says if Pat Buchanan gets the nomination, the party is in trouble. He predicts Buchanan wouldn't get many votes, and couldn't threaten the major-party candidates.

Trump told nearly 600 business leaders that it's time for a businessman to be president; he says a successful businessperson would watch the country's bottom line. Trump touted his plan to pay off the national debt through a one-time tax on the wealthy, and said he'll unveil a universal health-care plan and a welfare-reform proposal next week. Trump also showed signs of his legendary outspokenness. When asked by Republican Steve Young whether a billionaire president would be a good role model, Trump pointed out that he wasn't born into money.
Trump: I don't come from great wealth. I built a lot of great wealth. There's a big difference.
Young: Is there? That's my question.
Trump: I think so, one is somebody that is a member of the lucky-sperm club, and the other one's somebody who made money. I think there's a big difference.
Trump says his experience building a business would help him negotiate trade deals with other countries.

The executive director of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce, Tom Snell, says Trump's talk resonated with many of the Chamber members in attendance, who like the thought of having someone in the White House who understands business.
Snell: His constituency, if he decides to run, would come, I think , partially from people that would be made up of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Trump is also using his trip to Minnesota to promote his latest book The America We Deserve. Although he says he's not floating a presidential bid to sell copies, he says his first three books were at the top of the bestseller lists.