Donald Trump was never going to be the Republican nominee for president.
He was always “running for ratings” – using the spotlight afforded possible presidential contenders to focus attention on his business endeavors and entertainment enterprises.
But Trump really did want to enter the race for the GOP nod.
Every indication was that he planned to keep the speculation spinning for months.
And he could have done so, had it not been for one of the most successful political interventions in modern history.
After Trump embraced the sometimes racist and always ridiculous “birther” movement, the Obama White House released the president’s long-form birth certificate.
That was embarrassing, to be sure.
But Trump could have flipped over to an equally mad mission – say, promoting Paul Ryan’s plan to use Medicare money to shore up the bottom lines of private insurers – and carried on. If the serial-self promoter is good at anything, it’s pivoting to the next platform.
Unfortunately for Trump, Obama did not merely release the birth certificate.
The president used his appearance at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner to administer the final blow to what remained of Trump’s “credibility.”
In a televised appearance that would become a YouTube phenomenon, Obama committed an act of political sabotage that effectively ended the Trump boomlet.
The president’s devastating monologue – delivered with Trump sitting just feet away – focused largely on the absurdity of the developer’s claims regarding birth certificates, executive experience and just about everything else.
The president was graceful enough. But he was not slipping the knife in gently. He was bringing the hammer down.
“I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but nobody is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like: did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?” mused Obama, as he nailed Trump with one blow after another.
Trump, whose inability to take a joke was on full display, had to sit there as the president of the United States continued to pound him.
Obama was not just banging around the birther issue, however.
He was aiming at Trump’s supposed strength.
The president — who in barely 24 hours would stake a striking claim to executive proficiency with the announcement that a mission he ordered had taken out Osama bin Laden –ridiculed Trump’s “executive experience”: