Real estate mogul Donald Trump was planning a "big surprise" for the Republican National Convention in Tampa this year, but it was called off at the last minute and blamed on Hurricane Isaac.
Appearing on NBC's "Today" on Tuesday, the reality show host and scorned potential Romney running mate confirmed that the Republican Party filmed a 4-minute video of him insulting a man impersonating President Barack Obama. At the end, Trump even deployed his famous catchphrase: "You're fired."
Trump, host of NBC's "The Apprentice," said that the Romney campaign approached him to do the segment and even provided their own production team, but backed out at the last minute citing the storm. The video has not yet been released to the public, but "Today" host Matt Lauer played several excerpts on his show.
"Why didn't they find a way to squeeze it in later in the week?" Lauer asked. "Were you surprised they didn't find a way to put this in either Tuesday or Wednesday night?"
"I actually was," Trump replied. "It came out very well... A lot of people wanted it." Lauer countered by asking why Trump's RNC bit didn't mention Romney, who's made personal appearances with Trump on the campaign trail. "Was that by design?" he wondered.
"It really didn't have anything to do in this case with Mitt Romney," Trump said. "It had to do with the performance of the president. So, we weren't really discussing Mitt Romney. We were discussing the performance of President Obama."
Trump added that a recently released, secretly filmed video of Romney's comments disparaging 47 percent of Americans as "victims" at a private equity executive's home does not reflect what Romney really believes. "You'd have to ask him about it, but he's actually saying that's not what he meant," he said, insisting that Romney must not apologize. "I'm sure he wished he didn't say it. I'm sure that he wished the hidden camera wasn't there, but the fact is, Matt, he's really saying that's not what he meant."
Romney said at a hastily organized press conference on Monday night he was speaking "off the cuff" and insisted that his comments were just "not elegantly stated." He did not apologize for or back away from the remarks.
This video is from NBC's "Today," broadcast Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012.
Photo: Donald Trump via lev radin / Shutterstock.com