When last we saw Donald Trump in Republican presidential politics, he was using the "F" word to describe how the Chinese were making a mockery of the U.S., especially when it came to international trade relations. Now comes John Huntsman, Ambassador to China from May 2009 through February of this year, announcing he (unlike The Donald) is running for President of the United States. His promise: a respectful campaign. Did his respectful ways gain us much with the Chinese?
Huntsman made his presidential campaign launch speech at the Statue of Liberty today:
"I respect the president," he said. "He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help a country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is: Who will be the better president, not who is the better American."
The last time a political figure used the Statue of Liberty to promote himself, it was Huntsman's old boss. President Obama spent $329,000 to have Air Force One fly around the Lady in the Harbor for a photo op back in 2009. Remember how it sent downtown New Yorkers scrambling for cover with images of 9/11 fresh in their minds? True, Ronald Reagan made Lady Liberty his backdrop in announcing a run for the presidency (his successful campaign against Jimmy Carter), but so did liberal Republican Pete Wilson some years ago.
Huntsman will most assuredly be remembered (or, not remembered, as the case may be) with the likes of Wilson and not with Reagan. Republican primary voters are looking for a fighter, not a lover.