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Donald Trump to 'surprise' GOP convention. What might he do?

It won't be a prime-time speech, according to a news report. It probably won't be anything related to Obama's long-form birth certificate. But Donald Trump, celebrity 'boss,' will definitely be on scene.

By Staff writer / August 9, 2012

Businessman and reality TV personality Donald Trump speaks with reporters before endorsing Mitt Romney in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination in Las Vegas in February.

Rick Wilking/Reuters

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First, the bad news for Donald Trump fans: He’s apparently not going to give a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. He declined an invitation to deliver a major address “because he relishes the role he plays as an independent voice and believes his support of the Romney campaign could be served in other ways,” according to a story Thursday in the conservative publication Newsmax

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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But fear not Trumpizens, there’s good news, too! The Donald is going to take part in a big “surprise” at the GOP confab, says the Newsmax account, “but the nature of his involvement is being kept secret.”

We love surprises, and this one sounds delicious – what do you think Team Romney allegedly wants the developer/reality show host to do?

Well, we’ve got a couple comments here. First, Mitt Romney has said nothing about this, so maybe it won't happen. But we have little doubt that the Newsmax account is accurate insofar as it reflects Mr. Trump’s actual thoughts. It has interviewed Trump a number of times before, and Trump was scheduled to host a Newsmax-sponsored debate during the primary campaign until most GOP contenders declined to participate. The Newsmax story credits “sources with knowledge of convention plans,” and we would be unshocked if said sources were a strangely coiffed New York real estate billionaire and one of his aides.

Second, we’re pretty sure the surprise won’t involve a renewed call for President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, or another of Trump’s more outré political interests. Nominees get to run the whole show at big party political conventions, and presumptive banner-carrier Romney is well aware that Trump’s bluster about possible secrets in Mr. Obama’s past does not play well with independent voters. Plus, Trump won’t just blurt something out. He’s perfectly capable of playing coy when the situation demands it.

On Tuesday, for instance, Trump told Greta Van Susteren that Obama needs to release his college records. Then he declined to elaborate as to why, despite pointed follow-up questions from the Fox News host.

(Go to Trump’s Twitter feed, and you find the fuller story. The Donald has tweeted that it’s possible Obama applied to Occidental College as a foreign student, among other things.)

Finally, there are at least two policy messages Romney might find it useful for Trump to convey. One is about China. Both the billionaire and the ex-Massachusetts governor have been very tough on the Chinese, citing Beijing’s currency manipulation as a reason for its economic rise, among other things. So the “surprise” could involve some sort of rousing pro-US economic exceptionalism speech.

But the more likely message for Trump is obvious. He’s most famous nowadays not for being a casino mogul, not for dating supermodels, but for his “Celebrity Apprentice” reality show.

Here’s wagering that the “surprise” will involve Donald Trump striding on stage in front of a full crowd of cheering Republicans, and shouting one line: “Barack Obama, you’re fired!”

It’ll blow the roof off the arena. And as Trump tweeted on Thursday, the new season of his show will start filming in five weeks, and the “all-star” cast will be announced soon. Say what you want about his hair, Donald Trump is great at timing his publicity.

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