We all know Trump was really a pro-choice Democrat, friends with fellow New Yorkers the Clintons and New York’s senior senator Chuck Schumer. We also know, however, the New York elite never embraced the developer from Queens, and that he explored running for president as a Reform Party candidate in 2000.
What may have taken Trump from play to serious presidential candidate was an event in 2011: that year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. For some reason, most likely irritation over Trump’s repeated questioning of his native-born American status, President Barack Obama decided to rip hard into Trump at the event. With Trump in the audience and visibly humiliated in front of all these big shots, Obama said:
I know that he’s taken some flack lately—no one is prouder to put this birth-certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to the issues that matter, like: did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And—where are Biggie and Tupac? We all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example—no, seriously—just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice [when a team did not impress, you] didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf—you fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik, for one, suspects that
on that night, Trump’s own sense of public humiliation became so overwhelming that he decided, perhaps at first unconsciously, that he would, somehow, get his own back—perhaps even pursue the Presidency after all, no matter how nihilistically or absurdly, and redeem himself.Trump did not run in 2012, but once Obama was re-elected that year, and three years before he became a declared candidate in 2015, Trump registered his “Make America Great Again” trademark, indicating 1) his seriousness about running, and 2) his strategy for winning.
As Godfather Don Corleone noted, "Revenge is a dish that tastes best . . . cold.”