Is Donald Trump Punking the Press?

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Salon's Steve Kornacki offers the entire contents of his savings account -- $184.27 -- in a bet that businessman Donal Trump is scamming the press and the Republican Party by suggesting he has interest in running for president. Past is prologue, Kornacki argues:

Please, please, please: Don't fall for any of this.

The Donald, in case you've forgotten, has taken us all down this road before, when he spent months flirting with a third party bid for president in 2000. Just like now, he promised to tap his own vast fortune, attracted a torrent of publicity, and fared decently in polls -- around 15 percent in trial heats against Al Gore and George W. Bush. And just like now, he had something to promote: A new book (which came out in January 2000) and, well, the Trump brand. The only difference: Trump was pretending to run as independent, so instead of opposing abortion and giving aid and comfort to birthers, he claimed to be pro-choice and talked up universal healthcare and a massive income tax surcharge for the super-wealthy.

When that charade finally came to an end in February 2000, the national chairman of the Reform Party -- whose nomination Trump had claimed to be interested in -- branded the New York plutocrat a "hustler."

"Donald Trump came in, promoted his hotels, he promoted his book, he promoted himself at our expense, and I think he understands very fully that we've ended the possibilities for such abuse of our party," Pat Choate said.

He added: "All this was, was a serious hustle of the media, and I think the media should send him a massive bill on it."

Read the full story at Salon.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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