Shortly after raising the possibility of a Trump for President campaign in 2016, Donald Trump tugged at his hair Tuesday.
“It’s actually my hair,” he said, during a lunchtime address at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Indeed, it was. His presidential ambitions, however, may be less substantive, though he did not hold back in teasing the gathered reporters. “We’re going to see what happens in ‘16,” he said. “If I don’t see the right person I will do something in ’16; I will do it sure as you’re sitting here.”
Those words neatly echoed threats he made during the last presidential campaign in 2012, not to mention the threats he made in the 2000 campaign to run on the Reform Party ticket. Back in 1987, he took out full page newspaper ads that suggested he might get involved in politics. “The world is laughing at America’s politicians,” Trump wrote in one of those ads. He never ran for public office.
Officially Trump was speaking at the National Press Club to talk about the power of branding—“It’s all about winning”—and to plug The Old Postal Office, a luxury hotel renovation project which his daughter Ivanka said would open in, you guessed it, 2016. After feasting on a lunch of Caesar salad, seared Atlantic codfish and Trump cookies—a sugar cookie with symbols of his various real estate properties—the billionaire gave a wide-ranging, seemingly extemporaneous, nearly hour-long speech that riffed on everyone from Cher to President George W. Bush.
Trump talked about how he vanquishes celebrity foes through Twitter, including Rosie O’Donnell and Cher. “I hit [Cher] so hard she still doesn’t know what happened,” said Trump, who had feuded with the superstar singer over issues of politics, plastic surgery, hair implants and his line of products at Macy’s. “It’s the last I heard of her.”
Trump has 2.6 million followers, or as he put it, “many, many millions.”
Trump also fielded a few personal questions, including one on how he relaxes. “I build buildings,” replied Trump to laughter.
Trump briefly flickered at the top of the GOP polls at the beginning of the last presidential cycle, and said that the next round of candidates will have a particularly difficult time governing with most of the aspects of Obamacare in place. Trump even claimed that 2016 will be a “catastrophic year for the economy” because of delays in the President’s health care law.
“Republicans better get smart because they are going to inherit a mess that has never been inherited before,” said Trump. He also said he heard that HealthCare.gov cost $5 billion, which is not true, and joked he builds websites for $3. He ripped the Obama Administration for, among other things, creating a “red line” on Syria, saying America should not be involved in the brutal civil war, not approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and for yielding power to China.
He even threw in a knock on the previous occupant of the White House. “What positive thing has happened to this country in the last 10 years?” asked Trump at one point, apparently forgetting the success of his NBC reality show The Apprentice. “I’m not a Bush fan, believe me. He got us into Iraq.”