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."