NEW YORK, SEPT. 1 -- Donald J. Trump, the multimillionaire developer who has gotten into some well-publicized spats with city officials here, is using his cash to wade into the more exotic waters of foreign policy.
In full-page advertisements running Wednesday in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Boston Globe, Trump argues that the United States should present Western Europe and Japan with a bill for America's efforts to safeguard the passage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.
When a prominent private person spends $94,801 to publicize such a message, it raises the age-old question: What's he running for?
"As far as I know, he has no plans to seek public office," said Trump spokesman Dan Kloress. "The reason Donald told me he's doing this is that he's sick and tired of seeing other countries take advantage of America."
Trump's wealth and flamboyance have made him a sought-after political property. New York Republican leaders tried unsuccessfully to draft him to run against Mayor Edward I. Koch (D) in 1989 or Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (D) in 1990. And a veteran Republican organizer in New Hampshire is circulating nominating petitions for Trump in the state's 1988 GOP presidential primary, although Trump said it was "highly unlikely" that he would run.
The Persian Gulf ad was developed with advertising executives who were part of the "Tuesday Team" that prepared the media ads for President Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign. But one of them, Tom Messner, said he knew of no larger political agenda, and Norma Foederer, an assistant at the Trump Organization, said any bid for office "was the furthest thing from his mind."
Trump "wrote the letter himself," Messner said. "The idea of doing it was his. We were merely expediters. We designed the ad, we recommended the newspapers, handled the money and placed it. Our creative input was minimal."
Trump, 41, developer of the $190 million Trump Tower here, an Atlantic City casino and other mega-developments, is a major contributor to local political campaigns.
In a running feud with Koch over whether the NBC television network will move to a Trump property on Manhattan's West Side or relocate to New Jersey, Trump has called the mayor a "moron" and his top advisers "jerks." Koch called Trump, who has been seeking tax abatements for the Manhattan property, "piggy."
Trump also embarrassed city officials recently by restoring a Central Park ice skating rink and turning a $500,000 profit on it after the city had botched the job.