The Republican real estate mogul turned reality TV star told Forbes he is seriously considering a presidential bid in 2012. He has made similar noises in the past, but this time, he insists, he has favorable polling data behind him.
"I am seriously thinking about it," Trump said. "I hate what’s happened to the country. I hate what’s going on in respect to how other parts of the world are taking advantage of this country, whether it’s OPEC or China or many others, and I am seriously thinking about it."
Trump pointed out that his hit NBC show premieres March 6, and runs through June, and hinted that there could be an extra reason to watch the final show.
"Right around [June] would the time when I’d be thinking about making an announcement and making a decision," Trump said. "And maybe even using the season finale as a forum."
If he manages to evict President Obama from pennsylvania Avenue, Trump said the first order of business will be getting tough with oil-producing nations and China.
"All these characters that are talking about projecting for the economy are wasting their time because every time the economy gets good they raise the oil prices," Trump complained. "And mark my words: the economy can never be strong if OPEC is allowed to drain the blood out of us. So the first thing I’d do is have a heart to heart talk with OPEC — and it would not be a nice conversation.
"The second thing I’d do is have a nice heart-to-heart talk with China. I would tax Chinese products in a nanosecond. And they will come to the table in less than a nanosecond."
There are practical considerations, of course. Trump, with his traemark braggadocio, acknowledged he would have to step down as host of his popular show.
"You know what? I’m worth $6 to $7 billion, maybe more than that, you know, I built buildings all over the world, I’ve had a great run," he said. "So I’m seriously thinking about doing it. I may do it. I very well may do it."
Trump takes a dim view of the Obama Administration, saying "the world does not respect us" anymore.
"They don’t know what to do," Trump said of the current White House. "They don’t get it."