Trump gearing up $100 million White House effort

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2000

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - Donald Trump said today there is a ``very good possibility'' he will announce a $100 million campaign for the White House next month.

Asked in a brief interview with The Associated Press what would stop him from running at this point, he answered, ``Death.''

``There is a real chance that I will run,'' Trump told reporters aboard his private plane, a Boeing 727 emblazoned with his name in gold leaf. The plane landed in Minnesota this afternoon for Trump's meeting and appearance with Gov. Jesse Ventura, the Reform Party's highest-ranking public official.

At a speech later to the Metro North Chamber of Commerce, Trump said, ``Maybe it's like you found out in Minnesota, it's time for straight talk and a little common sense.''

Trump spoke to about 500 people before a news conference with Ventura in this Minneapolis suburb where Ventura once served as mayor. The two released a written statement saying they planned to ask the Federal Election Commission to rule on a previously submitted petition that the FEC set guidelines for participation in presidential debates.

The statement criticized Thursday's decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates to allow only candidates who receive an average of 15 percent support or more in major polls to participate in the official fall debates.

``We urge the FEC to formally take up this issue and open a public debate in which truly fair and objective debate selection standards can be developed,'' the statement said.

Trump said that if he decides to run for the Reform Party nomination, he is sure Ventura will be behind him.

Trump also said he had spoken with people about serving in his administration if he should be elected.

Former Republican Pat Buchanan is seeking the party's nomination but has gotten a cold shoulder from Ventura.

In New York City, Buchanan joked about the Trump-Ventura meeting.

``My guess is my name will come up in the conversation,'' he said, laughing. ``I know that Governor Ventura's been very critical of me or positions I've taken, as has the other gentleman, but I do think that the Reform Party has got to bring together folks who have disagreed in the past on a variety of positions if we're going to have any chance of taking over the White House.''

Buchanan said Ventura appeared to be leaning toward supporting Trump. ``He's certainly not leaning toward me,'' he joked.

Later, Trump and Ventura were attending a news conference together, and the real-estate developer was to be the keynote speaker tonight at the first post-election fund-raiser - a $100-per-person affair - for the Jesse Ventura Volunteer Committee.

The governor and other Minnesota Reform Party leaders have been critical of Buchanan's conservative positions on social issues and opposition to free trade. In addition, the Minnesota leaders are openly recruiting other candidates to take on Buchanan.

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