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 TIME on politics TIME CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and TIME

Trump flirts with campaign in namesake fashion

By Pat Neal/CNN

November 15, 1999
Web posted at: 6:40 p.m. EST (2340 GMT)

MIAMI (CNN) -- Billionaire developer and potential presidential candidate Donald Trump is taking his flirtation with a possible bid for the Reform Party nomination on the road.

Trump and Knauss
Trump arrives in Florida with his girlfriend Melania Knauss.  

Trump traveled Monday to Miami to visit the Cuban American National Foundation, which invited him after Trump wrote a newspaper article proposing a tougher stance against Cuban President Fidel Castro.

While in Miami, he visited a small museum dedicated to Cuban exiles who fought and died in the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Shortly after the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation, the United States imposed a severe economic embargo on the Caribbean island in the hope that it would contribute to Castro's fall. It hasn't, though the embargo has been in place for over 30 years.

"Make sure that this embargo stays in effect and drives Castro into oblivion," Trump said.

Trump answers questions about his trip.  

Trump is carefully planning his events across the country in areas where he'll have a natural base of support, as he does in Florida. And, he's getting feedback from the man who ran Jesse Ventura's campaign in Minnesota.

"A month ago, nobody took Mr. Trump seriously. Now he's assembling a campaign staff, he's starting to assemble a media staff, he has an idea of what states he wants to go (to)," said political consultant Douglas Friedline.

Trump says he can win over the other candidates because he's been successful.

"Did they make billions of dollars in a short period of time? I don't think so. Would they be able to? I don't think so," he said.

But as a politician, he'll have to shake a lot of hands -- a practice he has called barbaric in the past.

"It's not something that I'm in love with but I do it, and I'm very satisfied with it," he said.

Douglas Friedline ran Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's campaign in 1998.  

Trump is not your usual politician. He travels in style, arriving in Miami aboard a sleek 727 emblazoned with "Trump," and was accompanied by his girlfriend. He doesn't have to ask anyone for money.

"You know, it's sort of nice to have a campaign where you truly don't need campaign contributions," he said.

Trump said if he decides to run, he will spend whatever necessary to get on the ballot and to win. And what does his girlfriend -- model Melania Knauss -- make of his presidential ambitions?

"We're having good time and I'm supporting him in everything that he's decided to do," she said.

Asked if she would redecorate the White House, Knauss smiled and said: "Let's see where we're going."

Trump has four events coming up in the next couple of months to test the waters. He said he'll make a decision on whether to seek the Reform Party nomination for president by March.


Forbes bases growing challenge on campaign machinery (11-11-99)

Polls: McCain ties Bush in New Hampshire; Bradley gains support in New York, Iowa (11-11-99) Bush refrains from attacking 'good guy' McCain (11-11-99) Gore make presidential bids official in Concord (11-11-99)

Analysis: Vice President Al Gore's health care ad (11-11-99)

Analysis: Presidential campaigns put some contestants in 'Jeopardy' (11-11-99)

Speaker: Party loyalty big factor in vote on Mississippi governor (11-11-99)



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Monday, November 15, 1999

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