Donald And Melania Trump

February 4, 2012 by staff 

Donald And Melania Trump, Businessman Donald Trump and his wife Melania Knauss Trump on the sidelines before an an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, N.J.
With his trademark flair for spectacle, Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president Thursday on the famed Las Vegas strip — just hours after Newt Gingrich’s advisers were spreading the word that The Donald would be anointing him instead.

Trump’s endorsement seemed likely to affect this Saturday’s Nevada primary — and the GOP nomination fight in general — about as much as a Sin City breeze disturbs the real estate mogul’s legendary hair. But he managed to create a stir of a different sort, at least for a day.

Romney said he was glad to get the support, but he seemed almost bemused to be caught up in the Trumpian drama.

“There are some things you just can’t imagine happening. This is one of them,” Romney said with a smile, looking out at the reporters and cameras jammed into the lobby of the hotel complex that bears Trump’s name. The real estate mogul had entered to applause, with Romney and his wife, Ann, at his side

“Mitt is tough, he’s smart, he’s sharp and he’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country we all love,” Trump said. He vigorously shook Romney’s hand and said, “Go out and get `em. You can do it.”

But the endorsement was just the finale for a puzzling chain of events that began Wednesday when Trump’s office announced he would be flying to Las Vegas for a “major announcement” related to the presidential contest. Trump had announced last spring he would not run for the Republican nomination but had hinted as recently as last month that he might run for president as an independent.

What would he say in Las Vegas? Gingrich advisers suggested Trump had sent “signals” that he planned endorse the former House speaker. The Gingrich team began leaking word of an impending endorsement to news organizations including The Associated Press.

Nope. Reporters learned Thursday that Trump would be endorsing Romney instead.

Earlier, on a tour of a Las Vegas manufacturing facility, Gingrich made clear he had gotten the message.

“No,” the former House speaker replied when asked if he was expecting Trump’s endorsement. He added that he was amazed at the attention Trump was getting.

Romney hasn’t always been Trump’s man.

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