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Jewish World Review Dec. 1, 1999 /22 Kislev, 5760

Chris Matthews

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Donald Trump, 'Sinatra of Steel'


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- PHILADELPHIA --- Donald Trump is a character from the comics. He is the star of Gotham, a man able to raise golden buildings with a single economic rebound. He is the Midtown Big Shot surrounded by beautiful women desperate to please him, powerful politicians scurrying to befriend him.

"A hundred million dollars!"

That will be his ante, he told me last week, should he enter the presidential game next year. No, cash will not be problem.

The question, he says, is whether he can win the prize. Not just beat Pat Buchanan for the nomination of the Reform Party. Not just gain a seat in the 2000 fall debates. But win the White House itself.

The far more interesting question is whether he might settle for an alternative prize: the acclaim of having denied the Reform Party candidacy and debate chair to a man Trump describes as an enemy of Jews and blacks.

"I think the kind of people who support me are the workers, the construction workers, the taxicab driver. Rich people don't like me," he says.

What he means are rich people who inherit their money. Many who've earned it themselves see him as their hero. The prime constituency for his candidacy is the purchaser of a Trump Tower condo, the "very rich Italian guy with the red Ferrari and the beautiful wife."

Donald Trump, let's face it, is to girders and skyscrapers what the famed "Chairman of the Board" was to singing and show business. Trump is the Sinatra of Steel.

Why? Because, just like Lee Iacocco, Trump is known not just for making money but for building things. That sets him apart, not just from the Wall Street boys, but from the usual White House crowd.

"My business does great," he said during a televised meeting with University of Pennsylvania students. "I'm the biggest developer by far in New York. And we can say, 'Oh, he's a developer. He's a business guy. He's made a lot of money.'

"But you know, I look at the other candidates and I say, 'What gives them the right? They haven't done a damn thing.' I say, 'What gives them the right to go out and run for office?' "

To Trump, George W. Bush and Al Gore merely inherited their political status from their celebrated political fathers: "In one case, you have the son. And in another case, you have the son."

Trump shows even more contempt for Gore's rival for the Democratic nomination, Bill Bradley, saying his narrow victory over an unknown in his 1990 Senate re-election suggests he "would have been thrown out of office" had the former NBA player run again.

While he holds his fire on ex-POW John McCain, it's clear Trump is not overly impressed with the quartet many view as the year 2000 final four. It's equally obvious that he views Pat Buchanan as a villain straight from Batman.

"I think he's dangerous," he says. "I think that when he ran (in 1992) he really was responsible for the defeat of George Bush, with that terrible speech at the Republican convention. That was so bad. It was like 500 years ago."



JWR contributor Chris Matthews is the author of Hardball. and hosts a CNBC show of the same name. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

Up

11/29/99: Why AlGore will be our next president
11/23/99: After the fall
11/17/99: Our conveniently forgetful president
11/15/99: Next president: Male, WASP, self-selected
11/10/99: Backroom Bill
11/08/99: Please don't feed the 'pander bears'
11/03/99: Battle of the Bubba clones
11/01/99: Pat Buchanan, kamikaze candidate
10/27/99: The year of the woman... voter
10/25/99: The Curse of the Bubba
10/21/99: GOP gives Clinton his finest hour
10/18/99: Clinton's last hurrah
10/13/99: Rough seas for Capt. Ventura
10/11/99: Gore targets Bradley's strength
10/06/99: Bradley's got the right Rx
10/04/99: Buchanan, Churchill and Hitler
09/30/99: Who'll spin political gold in Golden State Gore or Bradley?
09/27/99: Here's a millennial checklist for candidates
09/22/99: The biography battle
09/20/99: Buchanan's new book is a must-read
09/15/99: Don't rule out Beatty
09/13/99: The man with the sun on his face
09/08/99: W. vs. Jr. on dope and the draft
The FALN: Hillary's Willie Horton
08/26/99: Bill's guilt fuels Hill's race
08/25/99: The seemingly inexhaustible strength of America's free enterprise
08/23/99: GOP candidates are weak also-rans
08/16/99: Bubba on Bubba
08/11/99: Hillary's agonizing attempts to understand
08/09/99: With warm regards, Richard Nixon
08/04/99: Weicker: real third party is on the Left
08/02/99: Dubyah's last hangover
07/27/99: Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh; capitalism is gonna win

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