Business mogul Donald Trump went out of his way on Wednesday to ensure that he’s serious about exploring a run for the White House in 2016, according to reports in both Politico and The Washington Post. Trump also took to the airwaves via the “Hugh Hewitt Show.”
“Everybody feels I’m doing this just to have fun or because it’s good for the brand. Well, it’s not fun. I’m not doing this for enjoyment. I’m doing this because the country is in serious trouble,” Trump told the Post.
Trump actually has hired some key staffers with significant political experience who also insist he’s serious this year. Trump talked of running in 2012 but ultimately decided against it. That’s causing some to take his current effort less than seriously.
As part of his preparations, Trump met Monday in New York with Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, telling him that he was actively mulling a presidential run, according to people familiar with the conversation. Priebus, who will remain neutral in the 2016 primaries, took the meeting because of Trump’s status as a prominent donor to the RNC.
For the moment, Trump’s consultants will be employed by his personal office, but they are likely to transition over to a new political group in the coming weeks. Donald F. McGahn, a partner at Jones Day, is counseling the businessman as he takes further steps.
Corey R. Lewandowski, a former director of voter registration at Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch, has been asked by Trump to serve as his senior political adviser and manager for the campaign-in-waiting. Alan Cobb, a former political adviser at Koch Industries, is another Republican who has signed on with Trump and is assisting with recruitment.
Based in New Hampshire, Lewandowski will direct Trump’s efforts in the first presidential primary and nationally if Trump jumps into the race later this year.
Trump has consistently criticized the incompetence of the Obama administration—as well as government as a whole. The Republican Party has also received its share of criticism. Trump has popular appeal across portions of the Republican grassroots base. Whether he officially declares or, perhaps, opts for a possible kingmaker role remains to be seen.
Trump reiterated his “disappointment” with the Republican Party, which he said is “all talk and it’s no action.”
Trump also explained his recent meeting with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a 45-minute encounter first reported by POLITICO. According to Trump, Walker — whose recent moves toward a 2016 White House bid have vaulted him into the top tier of presidential contenders — asked him for support because of his “big audience” on social media and elsewhere.
In 2014, Trump donated $10,000 to Walker’s re-election campaign.