WHITESTONE, N.Y. — Business mogul, real-estate developer on a colossal scale with an ego to match, reality TV star, highest of the high-profile billionaires. Could Donald Trump’s next big role be president of the United States?
More importantly, would Trump the president be good for the country and, more specifically, for retail and wholesale pharmacy?
Stewart Rahr, fresh from the sale of the drug distribution business that propelled him into Trump’s stratospheric income bracket, clearly thinks so. Rahr, who owned and led Whitestone, N.Y.-based Kinray until its sale last fall to Cardinal Health, is putting his considerable energy and some of his own money into a determined campaign to convince Trump, his pal and occasional golfing partner, to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 — and to deny President Obama a second term.
“He’d be an amazing president, as I see it, because he possesses the attributes the country needs as a president,” Rahr enthused in a mid-December interview with Drug Store News. “He’s intelligent and a tremendous negotiator. He’s a leader in every sense of the word, and he loves America.”
Rahr speaks with the sunny optimism and passion of a true convert, and the restless energy of the self-made billionaire, philanthropist and social dynamo he has become in the past three decades.
In an office whose walls are covered with photos of Hollywood celebrities and sports stars he calls friends, behind a desk covered with his trademark yellow sunglasses, Rahr, now approaching his mid-60s, still is on constant simmer.
Lately, the self-described “King of all Fun” is focused on what he sees as a high calling: the effort to put Trump into national office. “I’m devoting a lot of time trying to convince Donald that he’d make a good president,” Rahr told DSN.
Among other actions, Rahr has lent his support to a new website, ShouldTrumpRun.com, and issued a statement to solicit input and support for a presidential bid by his friend. In that solicitation, he called Trump “a natural born leader with outstanding ability to inspire others and to accomplish impossible tasks.” He also cited a poll from NewsMax.com to assert that Trump could win in a head-to-head contest versus President Obama. “Please join me in trying to convince Donald to consider running for this high office,” Rahr told supporters. “This is as serious as I get,” he added.
Rahr described Trump as “a social moderate” who would aggressively promote America’s return to undisputed global economic leadership. “Donald doesn’t like being second to China or to India,” he asserted. “He’s a visionary, and he thinks forward. He’d love to bring jobs back to America, and ensure that every American has a job. We need a businessperson ... [who] can surround himself with the brightest intellectual minds and get things done.”
What would a Trump presidency mean for retail and wholesale pharmacy? Rahr asserted the billionaire “would be a great champion for our industry. ... He doesn’t like the Obama healthcare plan,” the executive said. “He thinks there’s too many holes in it, it doesn’t take care of everyone and it’s too expensive. As for the pharmaceutical industry, as long as the product is made in America, he’d support it because that creates revenues and employs Americans,” Rahr said. “He’ll be a friend of this industry, as long as it would be made or distributed here in the United States and not elsewhere.”
A Trump presidency also would benefit from its ties to the former Kinray leader, Rahr said. “With [my background in] the pharmaceutical industry, certainly we’d have an ear to explain the problems we have as manufacturers and as distributors, in health care and pharmacies especially. ... I am who I am today because of the pharmaceutical business.”
Rahr predicted his friend likely will make a decision over the next few months — and may begin campaigning in earnest by May or June. “I think it’s going to happen,” he confidently stated.