Donald Trump Jr., rumored to be eyeing a move to follow his father’s footsteps into politics, will not be a candidate for governor of New York next year but is not ruling out a possible run for office in the future.
The younger Trump, in an interview Monday with The Associated Press, categorically denied any speculation that he might challenge incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“I am not running in 2018,” Trump said in his first public comments about a possible candidacy next year.
But he acknowledged having been bitten by the politics bug and said that he could consider a run down the road.
“Maybe someday,” Trump said. “It’s not something I’m doing now. But you never know, it’s fascinating stuff.”
The political future of Donald Trump Jr., who along with his brother Eric has taken the helm of the Trump Organization since their father took office, has been the subject of repeated speculation since he played a very active role as a campaign surrogate for much of the last two years. His well-received speech at last summer’s Republican National Convention electrified conservative circles and sparked talk that he might run for mayor of New York City.
But the Republican nominee squashed that talk almost immediately, as did Trump Jr. again on Monday.
“People keep asking me: When are you running for mayor?” he said. “Well, I’m not. If I was, New York City mayor is much less interesting to me than perhaps other things like governor of a state. That’s not saying I’m running. It’s just saying that, hey, if I ever did something, I’d probably be more interested in something like that.”
But Trump Jr. has long been comfortable in conservative circles and is scheduling a few high-profile appearances at Republican events, including a fundraiser in Texas last month and one in Indiana next month. Speculation about his political future picked up again in recent days after The New York Post’s Page Six reported that he told members of a Long Island club that he’d be interested in running for office. While making clear that he is not ruling out a future run, Trump Jr. also revealed that he shares his father’s distrust of much of the media.
“If I say no, [the media] says ‘He’s never going to do it’ and if I change my mind, they try to kill you with it,” Trump Jr. said. “You always leave your options open.”
Ed Cox, head of the New York State Republican Party, called the younger Trump “a very capable individual who would do very well at anything he wanted to do, including politics.” But Cox also indicated that being patient might be the right approach.
“The first duty of a member of the First Family is to help the president be the best president he can be,” said Cox, who is a son-in-law of former President Richard Nixon. “The fact that he is not looking beyond that would be probably be the right decision on his part.”
Trump Jr., a father of five, said that he has respected a “firewall” between the workings of the White House and the Trump Organization. Though he says he has spoken to his father more frequently in recent weeks, the two men do not discuss the details of the family business or the policies of the West Wing, he said.
But the younger Trump closely watches the doings in Washington and believes that any of the White House’s early stumbles are “understandable” due to the team’s governing inexperience and said that his father would soon be considered a “phenomenal” president. He singled out the decision to launch missile strikes on Syria in the aftermath of a chemical attack as a moment of strength.
“I think it’s important that we show that America has its resolve back,” he said. “I’ve seen more in the last two months than I’ve seen in the last two administrations in terms of fulfilling promises.”