ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Donald Trump’s top political adviser, Michael Cohen, told ABC News on Thursday that Trump’s endorsement could propel one of the Republican presidential candidates all the way to the nomination.
Cohen warned, however, that if Trump is unhappy with the quality of the GOP field, he would run as an independent — a move that Cohen said would be a “catastrophe for the Republican Party.”
“If he does get behind whoever the candidate may be, what’s going to happen is that individual will basically lock up the Republican nomination,” Cohen said on ABC’s “Top Line.”
Cohen called Trump the “godfather of politics” and said that the real estate mogul and reality television star’s die-hard fans will “follow him to wherever he goes.”
Trump is already being courted by some of the top GOP candidates, including front-runner Rick Perry who had dinner with Trump in New York City Wednesday night. They dined at an upscale Jean Georges restaurant in a Trump-owned building. The meeting was arranged at Perry’s request.
In late May Trump met with potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who is still flirting with a run. (They had dinner at a casual pizza place near Times Square. The location was Palin’s idea, Cohen said.) Cohen, who is executive vice president at the Trump organization, said that his boss plans to sit down with Mitt Romney soon.
“Donald Trump is definitely a playmaker,” Cohen said. “Everybody wants to see him, everybody wants his endorsement.”
But, he added, “He’s certainly not going to endorse anybody before he’s had the opportunity to speak to everyone.”
Though Trump passed on a presidential bid this year, Cohen left open the possibility that he could mount an independent run in June if he is not satisfied with any of the Republican candidates. Cohen predicted that if he did, Trump would either win the presidency or become a spoiler to the GOP nominee, allowing President Obama to cruise to a second term.
If Trump is the “godfather of politics,” Cohen has come to be known as Trump’s political “pit bull.” In addition to being a close confidante of Trump’s, he has been one of his most ardent backers, starting the website ShouldTrumpRun.com, which was created to encourage Trump to jump into the race and has received more than 1 million visits. The site is now an online gathering place for Trump supporters and has transformed into a political action committee.
“What’s going on right now in America is an absolute catastrophe,” Cohen said. “Mr. Trump has said many times, the first thing that you need to do is stop talking about spending your way out of this problem.”