Donald Trump's 2016 announcement heats up GOP racePosted: Updated:
The Donald is running for president.
Real-estate mogul and reality-television star Donald Trump said Tuesday he will seek the Republican nomination for president. He's the 12th high-profile Republican to enter the 2016 race, with more to come in the weeks ahead.
"All of my life, I have heard, a truly successful person, a really successful person, and even a modestly successful person, cannot run for public office. Just can't happen," Trump said. "Yet that's the kind of mindset you need to make this country great again.
"So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again," he said.
Trump made the announcement at the midtown Manhattan tower that bears his name before a small crowd of supporters, some wearing campaign shirts saying "Make America Great Again!" and "No More Career Politicians." A few held homemade signs: "Trump knows business" and "Donald, we need you."
Trump has teased presidential runs before, but has always backed out. But in preparation for the 2016 campaign, Trump decided not renew his contract with NBC for his reality show, "The Apprentice." He cannot appear on the network and run for president at the same time.
After forming a presidential exploratory committee in March, Trump has also hired political operatives on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He has also been a frequent visitor to the early voting states in recent months.
He joins a GOP 2016 class that offers voters a little bit of everything.
There is the top tier, a group that includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who formally launched his candidacy Monday. There are the single-issue candidates such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who talks about national security and little else.
And there is Trump, a businessman, television celebrity and a master of self-promotion who is positioned to have a greater impact on the early months of the Republican presidential primary contest than many GOP leaders would like.
That could mean taking part in the GOP presidential primary debates. He's doing just well enough in early public opinion polls so that he may earn a place on stage at the first event in August.
"Selfishly, the networks would put me on because I get great ratings," Trump said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Trump will also be required to release a personal financial disclosure that would reveal intimate details about his personal finances. The disclosure would include his net worth, sources of income, liabilities and assets. He would have to reveal the same information for his wife and dependent children.
Trump is ready to do so. On Tuesday, he was expected to share details about his personal finances that reveal a net worth of $9 billion, according to a person close to his potential campaign who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the announcement.
The financial disclosure, required of all candidates for president, was thought to be the final obstacle blocking Trump from launching a 2016 campaign.