Newsmax was the chief cheerleader for a Donald Trump presidency, and the chief cheerleader at Newsmax was Ronald Kessler. Drawing on his decade-long relationship with the mogul, Kessler did what he could to pave the way for a Trump presidency, even helping to facilitate Trump's speaking slot at CPAC.
But with Trump's declaration that he wouldn't seek the presidency -- a week or so ahead of when Kessler said he would announce his decision -- presumably left Kessler as broken-hearted as his Newsmax colleague James Hirsen.
So Kessler tries to pick up the pieces in his May 19 column by still carrying a flame for Trump's presidential ambitions.
Kessler claimed that "The tipping point for Donald Trump came when Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, visited him in his office in New York and offered him $120 million to continue as the star of 'The Celebrity Apprentice.' The NBC offer was for two seasons at $60 million each. Until then, Trump had been planning to announce his presidential run a few days after this season’s finale, which airs this coming Sunday, May 22."
But that's not quite what Kessler originally claimed; he wrote (after two previous tries went away) that on the "Celebrity Apprentice" season finale, "Trump plans to say that he will be holding a press conference in the next few days at Trump Towers in New York," at which "sources close to the real estate titan tell me that at that press conference Trump will be announcing his candidacy for the presidency." But even that claim was shot down when an NBC executive reported that the finale was filmed months ago, before Trump began his presidential flirtation.
Kessler, though, is still keeping hope alive. Claiming that "Trump’s office has received thousands of letters and emails urging him to reconsider," and that he "is said to have had many high-profile business leaders and others encouraging him to reconsider, drop his NBC plans and make the bid." Kessler continues:
Despite his decision not to run, Trump is still in high demand to speak at Republican events. He has struck a chord with Republicans and independents who relish his straight-talking approach to the economy and foreign affairs. He is said to be personally satisfied that he has made his points and has moved the conversation when it comes to Obama and his policies.
Candidate or not, Trump is likely to remain a force in Republican politics.
Kessler, it seems, is going to remain an public relations agent for Trump.