Thank you. I am almost humbled by the HUGE support you’ve shown for my campaign. Tremendous support. Tremendous. As I said when I announced my candidacy, I entered this to win, and I knew I would.

Why? Because from states and towns large and small, from one end of the country to the other, my message has resonated. I’ve tapped into a deep-seated anger that until now only bubbled up around the edges of peoples’ lives. But thanks to my campaign, this blinding rage has exploded into full view for everyone to see.

And this is why I, Donald J. Trump, now announce, before all of my loyal delegates and millions of supporters … that I must decline your nomination.

Because, in fact, my campaign hasn’t been about tapping into those emotions. It’s been about exposing the ability of someone like me — a media-savvy celebrity billionaire — to exploit them, playing on your fear and resentment by disseminating lies and fabrications, by demonizing minorities of all kinds, by appealing to your lowest instincts, and by leveraging peoples’ innate desire to blame and to follow without questioning or critical thinking.

I confess that from the start we plotted my candidacy as an experiment. We meticulously scheduled each and every gaffe, insult, slur, confrontation, complaint, mistake and outlandish tweet to build upon the last. The goal was to test just how far a seemingly unhinged, uninformed, incurious, intellectually lazy, yet supremely confident candidate could go.

Honestly, we never thought we’d make it this far. Third place, maybe — folding our tent after Super Tuesday was our best guess. And yet, we kept creating believers, and from Little Marco to Lyin’ Ted, our competition kept rolling over. The more irrational I got, the higher my poll numbers soared. So with the help of an all-too-often compliant, sensation-driven media, I kept it going. And here we are.

In other words, my campaign has been one HUGE scam. Only, unlike my university and my steaks, this one aimed to prove a bigger point.

How did this happen? Is it because America is always losing? Is it because Obama hates America? Is it because we need to take our country back?

No. It’s because too many Americans are ignorant. I mean, too many Americans choose to ignore facts, because the lies and myths that oppose those facts make them feel better. They ignore facts like:

• Planned Parenthood access reduces the number of abortions in America.

• Our economy isn’t a disaster.

• The Affordable Care Act, while not perfect, is helping millions of people.

• President Obama was born in Hawaii, and I never had evidence otherwise.

• America is still the wealthiest country on the planet.

• Global warming is caused by human activity.

• We can’t build a wall and have Mexico pay for it.

• We can’t ban all Muslims from entering the country, and

• I have no idea what “until someone figures this whole thing out” means.

Now, I implore you, my supporters, to look in the mirror and ask yourselves: What other big decisions do you make in life that are driven by anger? Who do you allow your kids to blame for their problems? What name-calling bully have you ever held up to your kids as a role model?

Fortunately, another thing my candidacy has shown me is that, with this platform, I have the opportunity to do some good. So before I leave I would like to announce three things:

First, I will be donating all the contributions to my campaign to public school systems across the country — for better materials, smaller classes and more teachers. Ignorance isn’t bliss. And teaching and learning shouldn’t be so hard.

Second, I want to sincerely apologize to Michelle Fields, Carly Fiorina, Megyn Kelly, Heidi Cruz, Rosie O’Donnell and any other women I’ve personally insulted or belittled. My behavior toward you was unbecoming of a grown man.

Third, I am asking my delegates to draft and support Sen. Susan Collins as our party’s nominee. She is the most decent, humble, reasonable and intelligent Republican woman I’ve ever met. She’ll make a great president.

It’s been a scary but revealing ride. You owe yourselves someone better than me — someone truly tremendous. Now go make me proud.

Thank you.


Rick Gibson is a Minneapolis creative advertising executive.