In announcing today that he would not seek the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump made clear that for all his sound and fury, he prefers to make money above solving political problems.
"I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half-heartedly," he said in a statement. "Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."
Weeks earlier, Trump hinted at his priorities in a less-polished fashion, as he visited New Hampshire with all the atmospherics of a traveling carnival.
He arrived in a flying machine (his personal helicopter), departed in a caravan (two SUVs and a limousine driven by a top-hatted chauffeur), and exhibited a showman's demeanor as he stopped in a cigar shop, a jewelry store, and a bakery specializing in popovers (“Who else gets this crowd?’’ he asked. “Does anybody else get this crowd? I don’t think so.’’).
During a news conference just after his chopper's rotor blades stopped whirling on April 27, Trump outlined the choice confronting him.
"If I decide to run, and that's a big decision for me, including the fact, frankly, that I would have to give up one of the most successful shows on television, which is a lot of money and a lot of prestige and a lot of power — you know, it's very cool being a television star, it's very cool, — and I'd have to give that up, and I'd have to give up a lot of other things up," he said. "But I would make, if I ran, and if I won, I would make this country rich again. I would make this country powerful again. And I would make this country respected again."
Today, Trump concluded his "greatest passion" wasn't to make the country rich, powerful, and respected again.
The highlight of his exploratory efforts may have been providing fodder for President Obama in a searing routine against him at the White House Correspondents Association dinner.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.