Donald Trump was the object of intense flattery Friday when a group of Republican leaders said to be a many as 50 strong pow-wowed with him in his office to sound him out about staging a campaign for governor of New York.
About half the Republican bigwigs crowded into Donald Trump's office went to the meeting simply to listen, not to plead with Trump to enter the gubernatorial fray, a source told New York's Daily News.
Trump, easily the nation's most famous real-estate developer and the host of the NBC game show The Apprentice — in which aspiring real estate developers compete for the chance to get a job with Trump — earlier flatly denied that he would enter politics to challenge New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In 2012, Trump made loud noises indicating that he would join the Republican field in the race for United States president, calling incumbent Barack Obama "the worst president ever" and challenging the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate. But the Donald Trump presidential bid never materialized, despite a flood of publicity directed Trump's way.
Whether Donald Trump is serious about running for New York's top job, or if his recent statements are just another publicity grab by a master publicity grabber, will all come out in time. Trump told The Buffalo News Friday that if Republicans were "unified" behind him, he would run.
"If we could have a unified party with everybody backing properly, I would do it and I think I'd win," he told the paper. But as the newspaper noted, Trump did not specify what would constitute a "unified" party in his estimation.
One top Republican, New York's GOP chairman, pretty much dared Trump to put his money where his political mouth is.
"If Donald Trump is serious about running for governor, he should declare his candidacy, run and go through the process," said Ed Cox.
Trump promised that if he became governor, he would deliver not merely tax cuts to New York voters, but "massive" ones.
"Wouldn't the people love to see massive tax cuts?" asked Trump.
Donald Trump added that New York has "the highest taxes in the nation, almost the world."
Carl Paladino, an ultra-conservative Buffalo businessman who had the backing of the Tea Party movement when he unsuccessfully ran against Cuomo in 2010, was enthusiastic about the prospect of Donald Trump for Governor.
"I believe he would be an awesome candidate, and that as part of his legacy he would trump Cuomo and the Albany establishment," Paladino said, in his apparent endorsement of a Donald Trump candidacy. "I think he would definitely have the mandate of the people to clean up Albany,"