Donald Trump is coming to Sarasota, FL according to Joe Gruters, Chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota. In an email Chairman Gruters states, “As you are probably aware we have been able to get Mr. Donald Trump to Sarasota prior to the convention for our Annual Statesman of the Year Dinner.”
The Statesman of the Year award has been given to those Republicans making a difference in politics locally, at the state and national levels. The Atlantic did an interview with Chairman Gruters on selecting Donald Trump. Here are some excerpts from that interview:
Q: There’s been a big reaction to the announcement that Donald Trump will receive the Sarasota Republican Party’s “Statesman Award.” A lot of what I’ve seen has been negative, along with a few positive reactions. Let’s start with the background. How did this award come to be? Is it something that’s given out every year?
A: I’ve been chairman since 2008 in Sarasota and we’ve given out three statesman of the year awards. Last year we gave it to Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi while he was sitting chairman of the Republican Governors Association. What we do is try to find individuals who are national in nature that also fit the mold of what we feel is a statesman and someone who is worthy to carry the title and receive the award.
Q: What kind of attributes are you looking for?
A: We go back to that definition of what is the statesman. It’s a wise, proven, and respected leader. I certainly think that Mr. Trump meets all those attributes. He is willing to make difficult decisions and take difficult positions regardless of the political consequences. When he was running for president, when he was mentioned as a possible candidate for president last year, he immediately shot to the top of the polls in the Republican primary. And he is one of the few people in America that can command the respect of people from of all walks of life.
Q: Although there are some negative comments on the blogs about the award, at the end of day Mr. Trump is a statesman. He certainly is skilled and has wisdom. I’ll just say that. He meets that criteria. He’s a skilled, you know, respected leader.
A: I don’t think you’ll get any disagreement when you say that he is willing to take controversial stands. That seems beyond dispute. His fans would probably say that he has wisdom; his detractors would say the opposite. What is it about him that demonstrates wisdom?
Well, here is one thing. While everyone else is struggling around the country, he continues to excel. He’s had his own ups and downs over the course of his life, but the guy is a job creator. Election 2012 is all about jobs and the economy. Another thing we wanted to do is since he’s been active with the Romney campaign trying to help the governor get elected in November, his stock continued to rise. Because with his background as a job creator and the focus of the upcoming election being jobs and the economy, it made perfect sense and he was the perfect fit for us at this time.
To read the full Atlantic interview transcript click here.