By all appearances, Donald Trump is moving closer to an actual presidential campaign. He already has an exploratory committee; he's delivered remarks at a series of candidate forums; and as Rachel noted on the show last night, he's scheduled a "major" announcement for June 16 at Trump Tower in New York City, followed by an event in New Hampshire the next day.
It's easy to have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it cheapens the political process to have ridiculous characters seek important national offices. The country is confronted with real challenges and real candidates whose solutions deserve to be scrutinized carefully. When carnival barkers launch vanity exercises, it's an unwelcome distraction.
On the other hand, Trump is likely to be very amusing, albeit in an unintentional sort of way.
Consider, for example, his latest interview with the Des Moines Register, which is an amazing encapsulation of everything Trump brings to the table.
DMR: You're doing well enough in polls now to nab a spot in the televised presidential debates. In our latest Iowa Poll, however, 85 percent of likely GOP caucusgoers said they would "never" support you for president.TRUMP: That's because they don't think I'm running. When they think I'm running, they go through the roof. I see it even on Twitter. I have millions of people on Twitter and Facebook, like 6 million people on Twitter and Facebook. They say: "Please run, but if you don't run, well, just leave me alone." You know, it's sort of interesting. But they want me to run.
Oh, I see. An overwhelming majority of Iowa Republicans would never vote for Trump, but they'll change his mind after he launches, as if they don't already know who he is. Trump knows this, of course, because many people follow him on social media -- which couldn't possibly have anything to do with morbid curiosity about a media personality known for saying ridiculous things through social media.
When a reporter for the Register asked a follow-up question about his public support, Trump interrupted. "I'm the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far," he said, apparently equating "success" with financial wealth. "Nobody's ever been more successful than me. I'm the most successful person ever to run. Ross Perot isn't successful like me. Romney -- I have a Gucci store that's worth more than Romney."
Just so we're clear, I'm not making any of this up.
As for Trump's secret plan to defeat ISIS, which hasn't been willing to share, the Register asked about that, too.
DMR: Specifically, what would you do to address the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria?TRUMP: I have an absolute way of defeating ISIS, and it would be decisive and quick and it would be very beautiful. Very surgical.DMR: Military on the ground? Drone strikes?TRUMP: If I tell you right now, everyone else is going to say: "Wow, what a great idea." You're going to have 10 candidates going to use it and they're going to forget where it came from. Which is me.
In a crowded Republican field of possibly 19 candidates, Trump probably won't have any trouble standing out.