Donald Trump announces bid for US presidency

Trump courts controversy in launch of White House bid
Trump courts controversy in launch of White House bid

Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Tuesday (June 16) in a blitz of boasts.

“I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” Trump said at the Trump Tower skyscraper in Manhattan on launching his bid for the Republican nomination.

The billionaire, widely seen as having almost no chance of winning the nomination, brings an outsized personality and a penchant for controversy to an unusually large group of Republicans vying for the presidency.

Eleven other Republicans have announced they are running for next November’s election, the latest being former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who launched his candidacy on Monday.

Trump, who boasted of having $8.7 billion in net worth, said he would not need help from lobbyists or donors to fund his candidacy.

“I’m really rich,” he said.

“And by the way, I’m not even saying that in a braggadocious…that’s the kind of mindset, that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country, because we have to make the country rich.”

Trump, who owns several hotels and hosts the reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC, toyed with running in past elections but decided against doing so.

In his speech, Trump mentioned a reporter who asked him how he was going to win if he wasn’t a nice person.

“This is going to be an election that’s based on competence, because people are tired of these nice people and they’re tired of being ripped off by everybody in the world,” he said.

Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to live in the United States and proposed building a wall to keep the criminals out.

“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that wall, mark my words,” he said.

“Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump, nobody,” he said, when it came to the issue of Islamic State.

He languishes in 12th place, ahead of former New York Governor George Pataki, in a Reuters/Ipsos online poll of 13 Republicans who have either declared their candidacies or are likely to. Bush led the poll.

In other surveys, Trump has high negative ratings, with more than 50 percent of Americans saying they will never consider voting for him.

Trump supporters inside Trump Tower on Tuesday reflected a different mindset.

“I know that Donald Trump treats his workers very well and he’s very pro-union,” said Brian King.

“I’m a union member, my father was a union member, anybody’s for unions, I’m for.”

“We were promised hope and change and all we got was the president’s changed his mind,” said Jack Celentano.

“Maybe it’s time for a businessman to run the country,” said Frank Scavonne.

“Bring the finances back, bring the jobs back. Give us our military back.”

Republican strategists and officials cringe at the thought of Trump grabbing attention away from the party’s more serious candidates as it tries to win back the White House after defeats in 2008 and 2012.

Trump’s first big campaign challenge will be to make it into a Fox News debate of Republicans in August that will be open to only the top 10 candidates in national polling. (REUTERS)

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Story By Lisa Kamau
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