Donald Trump to headline Republican party event, still mum on presidential bid
Donald Trump, who has said he may run for president of the United States in 2012, was named as the headline speaker for the Iowa Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner on June 10.
State GOP chairman Matt Strawn told The Des Moines Register newspaper that he invited Trump, a 64-year-old real estate mogul and reality star, to the event last month, after seeing him speak to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.
Trump, who was also the star of a recent Comedy Central Roast, had told news outlets, including OnTheRedCarpet.com, that he would announce before June, after the end of the current fourth season of his reality show "The Celebrity Apprentice," whether or not he will run for president.
Iowa is one of several swing states, whose majority of voters voted for Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates in the 2008 national election. In the 2004 ballot, Republican candidate George W. Bush was chosen by Iowa voters, winning with a slight lead over Democratic hopeful John Kerry.
Trump told the Des Moines Register that he plans to campaign aggressively in Iowa if he seeks the 2012 nomination.
An independent group is already pushing for Trump to submit his presidential bid through the website shouldtrumprun.com.
On the site, Trump appears in a video and details some of his political views, saying he supports taxing the outsourcing of jobs, namely those in call centers abroad, and slams Obama's response to the recent deadly tsunami and earthquake in Japan, which threatened its nuclear power plants.
"He was playing golf," Trump said. "I love golf. I own many golf courses. I know more about golf than Obama knows. But you can't be playing golf when Japan is burning and crashing. It's wrong."
The president had said in a speech following the disasters that the United States had called for its citizens to leave Japan and was sending search and rescue teams to the county. He also said he had "asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to do a comprehensive review of the safety of our domestic nuclear plants."
Trump also slammed what he called the "stupid" U.S. leadership's handling of business with Japan, adding: "They've ripped us off for years. They've been a trading partner, but I don't call it a partner because they've made money, we haven't. It's very unfair what they've been doing to us over the years." "On a humanitarian standpoint, we really have to help Japan," he added. "Despite everything that's happened ... the fact is, we have to help them. It's a country in turmoil."
Trump has said last year that he was thinking about running for president in 2012 and laughed off suggestions that he might run with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who lost a Republican vice presidential bid in the 2008 election.
Trump had suggested running as a Republican in 1988 and eyed a presidential bid with the Reform Party in 1999. In 2007, he floated the idea of making talk show host Oprah Winfrey, now the world's most powerful celebrity, his running mate.
Since 2008, Trump has contributed more than $25,000 to campaigns of Democratic politicians and more than $2,000 to former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, public records show. In 2004, he donated funds to campaigns of both Bush and Kerry.