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Donald Trump says the 'last person' Obama wants to run against is Donald Trump

April 19, 2011|By James Oliphant
(Gary Coronado/AP-Palm…)

It’s official. For the moment, at least, Donald Trump has hijacked the Republican presidential race. How do we know that? He told us Tuesday, dismissing the criticism that he’s inconsequential, that’s he’s a “joke candidate.”

 “So inconsequential that I’m leading in every poll?” he bragged to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.

The Trump Presidential Reality Tour stopped at both "Good Morning America" and the "Today" show Tuesday morning, with its principal sounding more and more like he’s ready to jump in.

Both Guthrie and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos pressed Trump on the Obama “birther” issue, at times almost pleading with him to stop for the sake of Americans everywhere.

When Stephanopoulos suggested that all evidence suggests that the president is, in fact, a U.S. citizen, Trump would have none of it.

“George, they’ve co-opted you,” Trump interjected.

“Who’s ‘they’?” Stephanopoulos said.

“Obviously Obama and his minons,” Trump said. “They have co-opted you.”

Stephanopoulos pushed Trump to reveal whether his publicized investigation of Obama’s past in Hawaii had yielded any results. “That’s none of your business,” the billionaire replied. "Next question, George."

Trump also revealed that he called up David Axelrod at the White House a year ago and offered to build a $100 million ballroom for state functions as an addition, something like the ballroom Trump said that he built at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

"It's gorgeous," Trump said. "It's a tremendous ballroom."

On “Today,” Trump said he is worth far more than the $2.7 billion estimated by Forbes magazine and pledged he would release his tax returns if Obama releases his birth certificate.

“I built a fantastic company,” he said.

He continued his tough talk on the China issue, pledging to launch a trade war with the economic giant if it did not stop manipulating its currency.

“They have some of our debt. Big deal,” Trump said. “They don’t have the cards. We have the cards.”

Trump wants to institute a 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports. The talk has so alarmed the pro-business Club for Growth that it’s begun releasing daily statements knocking Trump’s proto-candidacy.

“I’ve made a lot of money with China by the way,” Trump added.” A lot of money.”

Despite a recent Rasumussen poll that shows Obama thumping Trump, the Donald said he is the president’s worst political nightmare. “I know many people at the White House and one in particular,” he said. “And the last person he wants to run against is Donald Trump.”

But if Trump continues to suck all of the media oxygen out of the race, it’s more likely he'll  become the worst nightmare for the likes of Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, who may be considering signing on "The Celebrity Apprentice” for some airtime.

(We mentioned the show again. Mr. Trump, we've said it before. You're a genius.)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

james.oliphant@latimes.com

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