STATEMENT OF DONALD J. TRUMP
Since beginning my Presidential Exploratory effort, I have consistently said that I was only interested in running if I had the prospect of winning.
I believe that in order to win the presidency as a Third Party Candidate, all forces within that party would have to strongly pull together and be totally unified. Sadly, this has not happened. I agree with my friend Jesse Ventura-the Reform Party has become dysfunctional. I do not believe that the internecine warfare within the party, including the removal of Jack Gargan as National Chairman, is conducive to victory. The prospect of divisive lawsuits, continued fighting over the National Convention site and general fratricide leave me deeply concerned about the direction of this party.
Now I understand that David Duke has decided to join the Reform Party to support the candidacy of Pat Buchanan. So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, - Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi - Mr. Buchanan, and a Communist - Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.
More importantly, Governor Jesse Ventura, the most attractive individual in the party has withdrawn because he can no longer stomach the constant bickering within the Reform Party. I applaud Governor Ventura's formation of a new Independence Party and predict that Governor Ventura will have a great political future. But without Jesse, the Reform Party is just an extremist shell and cannot be a force or even a factor in 2000.
I have consistently stated that I would spend my time, energy and money on a campaign, not just to get a large number of votes, but to win. There would be no other purpose, other than winning for me to run. I have therefore decided not to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party.
In recent days, many of my supporters have urged me to stand as the presidential candidate of Governor Ventura's new Independence Party. Although I am flattered, it is my judgment, that although the existence of this party is healthy, that the prospects of victory at this late date are slight. Consequently, I have also ruled out a presidential candidacy in the Independence Party.
During my exploratory effort, I have gotten to know some wonderful people from all elements of the Reform Party. Russ Verney, New York State Chairman Jack Essenberg, Dale Barlow, Rick McCluhan, Jack Gargan and Tom McLaughlin are talented, hard working and energetic people and it is now my honor to be their friend. I have been gratified by the tremendous support I have received especially from New York, Texas, Minnesota and Pennsylvania and feel 100% certain that if I had actively sought the nomination, I would have gotten it. This experience has been very educational, exciting and a great deal of fun for me. I have been treated very fairly by the media and would like to thank the working press for that.
For those who suggest that this has just been a promotion, I want to strongly deny that. While it is true that my book, "The America We Deserve" has become a best seller in NY and my casino and real-estate development businesses have probably benefited from the exposure that my potential candidacy generated, I did not launch my exploratory campaign for that reason.
I truly love my business, principally the construction of great Manhattan towers. I look forward to getting back to it fulltime. I continue to be interested in the political process and cannot rule out a possible candidacy in 2004.