Donald Trump has declined an offer to deliver a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention, sources with knowledge of convention plans tell Newsmax.
But Newsmax has learned that the billionaire businessman has been asked to deliver a big “surprise” at the convention in Tampa, Fla., which begins on Aug. 27.
Trump has already made plans to be the area at that time. On Aug. 26, he will receive the Statesman of the Year award from the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Fla., and is planning to remain in the area for the convention’s opening festivities.
Trump was offered a major speaking role during the convention, but has told the Romney campaign that he relishes the role he plays as an independent voice and believes his support of the Romney campaign could be served in other ways. The Romney camp is said to have already proposed to Trump how they would like him involved at the convention, but the nature of his involvement is being kept secret.
Trump, who hosts the hit NBC show "Celebrity Apprentice," is also said to be mulling an offer from ABC to join Barbara Walters in her live coverage of election night this November.
Trump’s people also have told the Romney campaign that while he fully supports the Republican candidate’s presidential bid, he cannot spend the full week in Tampa due to pressing global business pursuits.
That focus is what kept Trump out of a presidential run, even though he catapulted to the lead of a presumed field of Republican candidates after he told Newsmax and other media that he was strongly considering a run.
A Rasmussen poll in April 2011 had Trump leading the GOP field with 19 percent, ahead of Romney’s 17 percent.
Other more recent polls have shown that had Trump decided to run a Ross Perot-style presidential bid, he would have started with a huge base of supporters, more than one-fifth of the electorate.
Despite not running, Trump has remained a thorn in the side of Barack Obama. Trump was successful in getting Obama to release his full birth certificate, which the president did last April. Since then, however, Trump has voiced skepticism of the document’s authenticity.
In recent weeks Trump has stepped up criticism of Obama for failing to release his passport and college records, including his transcripts and his applications. Previously, Trump told Newsmax that “nobody knows anything about how he got into Harvard.”
Trump also argues that it is hypocritical for Democrats to incessantly call on Romney to release more of his tax returns when Obama staunchly refuses to disclose his college and other personal records. He has encouraged Romney to offer to release his tax records on condition that Obama release his passport, college records, and other important records.
Editor’s Note: Trump’s influence in this 2012 election has been detailed in Newsmax magazine’s cover story “The Trump Effect.”
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