Dave Barry

Classic ’99: He doesn’t want to hold your hand

Donald Trump denounces Castro as Jorge Tella and Perez Franco listen. (11/15/99)
Donald Trump denounces Castro as Jorge Tella and Perez Franco listen. (11/15/99) Miami Herald File

(This Dave Barry column was originally published Nov. 16, 1999.)

Potential presidential timber Donald Trump, who, by his own admission, is “the very definition of the American success story, “ came to Miami Monday on an exploratory mission to find out whether he is hugely popular or what.

He arrived at Miami International Airport (motto: “You Expect To Get Your Luggage BACK?”) shortly after 10 a.m. in a private 727 jet, which was easy to spot because of the big gleaming gold letters on the side, spelling out the name “RYDER.”

No, seriously, they spelled “TRUMP, “ the name that appears on all of Trump’s casinos, hotels, condos, ex-wives, etc. On the Trump plane with Trump was the Trump entourage, which included a number of Trump employees, a Trump bodyguard who looked like a UPS truck wearing a suit, and the official Trump girlfriend, Melania Knauss, who, it goes without saying, is a supermodel.

Trump and his entourage then motorcaded, with a police escort, to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Library and Museum in the heart of Little Havana. There, Trump told the standing-room-only crowd that “Fidel Castro actually has done some good things.”

No, I’m kidding again. He said that Castro is bad. This courageous stance was a big hit with the crowd. Supermodel Girlfriend Melania Knauss did not say anything at this stop; her primary function in the campaign appears to be to stand around looking Babe-O-Licious, thus communicating the reassuring message to voters: “If This Woman Were First Lady, Monica Lewinsky Could Walk Into The Oval Office Stark Naked Without Arousing The President’s, Um, Interest.”

Next, everybody motorcaded over to the Radisson Mart Plaza Hotel for a press conference, where Trump, speaking frankly, revealed that “I’ve done very well at everything I’ve ever done.” He said that he has taken a look at the other candidates, specifically Al Gore and George W. Bush, and he has not been impressed.

“Let me ask you, “ he said, in a quote that I am not making up. “Did they make billions of dollars in a short period of time? No. Could they make billions of dollars in a short period of time? I don’t think so.”

It’s hard to argue with that. For too long this country has been run by losers who never once made a billion dollars in a short period of time. Abraham Lincoln is only one example. It’s time we picked a guy who has accomplished things. For example, Trump told the press conference that when he bought the historic Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and decided to turn it into a club, people said he wouldn’t be able to do it. But he did!

“It has become the hot club!” he said. (Imagine what he could do with the White House!)

Trump said he has not yet decided whether he will run, but he did acknowledge that he has started actually shaking hands with people, which he does not normally do.

“It’s not the most sanitary of things, “ he said. “It’s not something I’m in love with, but I do it.”

At one point, a reporter asked Supermodel Girlfriend Melania Knauss how she felt about the Trump exploratory campaign.

“I am having good time, “ she said. “I am supporting him in everything what he decide to do.”

I have to agree with her on this. My feeling, as a citizen, is that if this hugely successful man is willing to make room in his busy schedule to leave the safety of his jet and allow himself to come into physical contact with germ-infested voters, then the LEAST we can do is elect him president. My only criticism of him, as a candidate, concerns his hair, which is the color of a diseased pumpkin and appears to originate from some point on his body other than his head. But aside from that I think he’d be the perfect leader for the times we live in. And I’m sure that, when he left Miami, having seen the enthusiasm down here for his candidacy, he washed his hands thoroughly.

(c) 1999, Dave Barry

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