Donald Trump had been threatening to jump into the race as an independent if the GOP didn’t pick “the right person” to go up against President Obama. Well, it looks like he found Mr. Right in Mitt Romney.

Only a true showman like the Donald could orchestrate the media frenzy surrounding this afternoon’s impending endorsement in Las Vegas. Living in the No. 1 media market in the country, the Donald knows how to command press attention. He knows how to string it along with well-placed tidbits and maybe even some disinformation. And then when the main event arrives you have no choice but to marvel at his prowess — and be ashamed that you paid such close attention.

How much impact the blessing of Trump will have on Romney’s campaign (or why he would even want it) remains to be seen. But the media storm it has created must be blessed relief for the former Massachusetts governor, who stomped all over his Florida victory by proclaiming that he’s “not concerned about the very poor.”And there’s a media storm because this day — one in which a multimillionaire with great hair and movie star looks will be endorsed by another multimillionaire with lots of hair and a television show — was not supposed to happen.

When I interviewed Trump last September, it was the day after Romney paid a stealthy visit to his Fifth Avenue perch.

JC: In the past you haven’t had too many nice things to say about him.
TRUMP: I didn’t know him. I didn’t know him. The question was asked of me, “Are you richer than Romney?” And I said, “Much richer.” And they made it like it was a slight at Romney. That wasn’t me who said it. They said, Who’s richer you or Romney? I’m much richer. So what?  And they made that like it was a slight. And it wasn’t a slight. If you’re going to ask me a question . . . Now I could have said I have no comment. But all they have to do is pick up, you know, any list, even if it’s a wrong list. . . . So I said, “I’m richer.” I didn’t say that in a negative; I thought the question was an unfair question. And I think not answering it would have been foolish....I didn’t know him until yesterday.

Of all the people to visit Trump during this election season, Romney is the only one who didn’t get “the treatment.” You know, pictures and video of them together eagerly recorded by an awaiting press corps. Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain all basked in the Donald’s glow.  

“People knew he was coming up and I wanted to keep it very private,” Trump told me when I asked about Romney’s visit. “And I think it was good for him also. And we had a great meeting. We were together for more than an hour. There was a very good feeling. There was very good chemistry. And, uh, we’ll meet again.”

They sure will, much to the surprise of many — in about three hours.