Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen: There will never be a President Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to a fundraising event at a golf course in the Bronx borough of New York Monday.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to a fundraising event at a golf course in the Bronx borough of New York Monday. AP

Before one more straight-faced political story is written about the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, the obvious begs to be stated: The man has absolutely no chance of winning.

Zero. Nada.

Write it down. Take it to the bank. Bet the farm.

This preening self-parody of an egomaniac will never, ever be elected president of the United States. He has more baggage than all the Kardashians put together, and less class. The only way he could win is if the Democrats nominate Bill Cosby.

Anyone who manages to defame an entire Hispanic nationality on his first day of campaigning will, inevitably, offend practically everybody . The early Republican polls showing Trump in second position behind Jeb Bush are hilarious — and meaningless.

Trump wears thin fast on voters. He isn’t the sharpest tack in the corkboard, but he has brains enough to know he can’t possibly capture his party’s nomination, much less the White House. So why is he running?

Many think it’s to boost the value of his “brand.” Trump is known for licensing his name to real-estate projects that he doesn’t plan, own, develop or manage. Basically you pay him for the right to hang the T-word on your building.

Some investors actually go for this. More than 180 of them put down deposits for the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale starting in 2005. They thought Trump was the developer because that’s what the advertising said.

Unfortunately, the actual developers were led by a convicted felon and ex-FBI informant named Felix Sater, who put together a partnership that did other name-licensing ventures with Trump (at least two have gone into foreclosure).

At the time the Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower began to rise, Sater had just pleaded guilty in a $40-million securities swindle involving Mafia members. Sater’s files had been sealed by a New York judge, so investors were unaware of the case.

The Fort Lauderdale project tanked. Trump took his name off of it when he stopped getting paid. Trump was later acquitted of engaging in deceptive business practices, a case that’s being appealed. Most buyers recouped part of their down payments in out-of-court settlements.

This is one of many stories that will resurface during Trump’s dead-end candidacy, raising questions about his judgment and greed. If you sell your name to a mob-connected felon who is peddling condos, it’s not enough to claim you “didn’t know him very well.”

That makes you sound lazy and careless, not ideal branding for a future president.

Philip Bump of the Washington Post has half-seriously suggested that Trump might really be running to sabotage the Republican Party and help Hillary Clinton, to whom he has donated generously.

Trump wasn’t always a conservative Republican. In the not-too distant past he advocated higher taxes for the wealthy, drug legalization and a single-payer healthcare system. He was also pro-choice.

Still, to believe Trump is on a sly mission to cause mayhem in the GOP gives him too much credit. His “birther” crusade against Democrat Barack Obama was authentically hateful.

Likewise, his recent “rapists” rant about Mexican immigrants was so toxic that it had to be unscripted, the sentiment coming from somewhere deep inside. (“I love the Mexican people!” he brayed belatedly to Anderson Cooper).

The rapist comment will go down as one of the stupidest political ad libs ever. Three minutes into his campaign, Trump destroyed any possibility of winning the Hispanic vote in this country, which is crucial.

The fact he won’t apologize tells you how vain and short-sighted he is.

If Trump lasts until the major primaries (he tends to quit early), he’ll get some votes but not nearly enough. By then, other Republican candidates will be gunning for him, with abundant ammunition.

Running a beauty pageant isn’t the same as running the war against ISIS. Nor does hosting Celebrity Apprentice qualify as practice for choosing a Cabinet, unless the country is ready for Gary Busey as the secretary of Defense.

Since there’s no chance Trump will be on the ballot in 2016, why are we writing about him? He’s loud, self-bloated and obnoxious — but he’ll probably make the cut for the upcoming GOP debates.

In past election years he was an entertaining sideshow. The gaseous way he exaggerated his wealth. His roadkill hair-do. The inane bombast.

But now that he’s trashing minorities, Trump is not so amusing — not to Univision, NBC Universal, Macy’s or even the PGA.

And not to most Americans, who don’t pick presidents based on how many condo towers bear their name. Trump is one that now stands for something cold and ugly.

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