Donald Trump Is Not Running for President

But he still thinks he could have beat Obama in 2012

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Donald Trump announced Monday that he's not running for president after all. Trump released a statement saying that although he still thinks he could have beaten the rest of the Republican field--and eventually, Obama--he realizes "business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."

On Sunday, NBC announced it had renewed Trump's reality show, Celebrity Apprentice, for another season.

This is a proud day for Trump-skeptics, who insisted his candidacy was just a publicity stunt even as Trump rose to the top of the polls. Hot Air's Ed Morrissey asks if the "Hardest hit" by the news might be pundit Charles Krauthammer, who was convinced Trump was serious after the reality star phoned him.

The Atlantic's Josh Green says that while Trump's exit is hardly shocking, it's important to "pause for a second and contemplate the amount of damage he's inflicted on himself..." Only three months ago, Green writes,

"Donald Trump was our vulgar national mascot of money, a guy who seemed likable enough, kind of funny, amusing on television, and possibly even in on the joke himself (you could never quite tell). ... Flash forward to today: Trump's name is virtually synonymous with discredited, far-right race-baiting; his political foray underscored the fact that he'd flip-flopped on most issues, which made his hateful blather even more ridiculous; and his once-successful franchise, Celebrity Apprentice, saw its ratings collapse as its liberal audience abandoned it in droves."

Why is Trump quitting now? Green says it's not about holding onto a last tiny scrap of dignity, but about "trying to hold onto what he has"--Celebrity Apprentice. Green hypothesizes that given how the reality show's ratings plummeted during Trump's flirtations with a presidential campaign: "I wouldn't be surprised if his NBC deal included a clause that he fold up his tent and shut down the circus that was his campaign. That's just good business sense--and in Trump's case, it doubles as an act of mercy."

Slate's Dave Weigel says those who lost the most on Trump's political gambit are the publishers of his upcoming policy book and the Iowa Republican Party, which is hosting "An Evening with Donald J. Trump" on June 10. "Who's the winner?" Weigel writes. "Oh, everyone else on the planet."

Full text of Trump's statement:

After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.

I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run. My gratitude for your faith and trust in me could never be expressed properly in words. So, I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician’s thoughts.  My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country.  I will continue to push our President and the country’s policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness.  Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country’s conversation. They are now being debated vigorously. I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country’s top priority and something that I know a lot about. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don’t have a medium through which to articulate.

I look forward to supporting the candidate who is the most qualified to help us tackle our country’s most important issues and am hopeful that, when this person emerges, he or she will have the courage to take on the challenges of the Office and be the agent of change that this country so desperately needs.

Thank you and God Bless America!

Donald J. Trump

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.