He’s raised the idea of running for president before, but this time Donald Trump may be serious. The real estate mogul and star of “The Apprentice” is expected to launch a presidential exploratory committee Wednesday, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
The committee would allow Trump to test the waters for a possible 2016 campaign for the Republican nomination for president. Trump has signaled that he is seriously thinking of running for president by not renewing his “Apprentice” contract and hiring political staff in early primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.
“Everybody feels I’m doing this just to have fun or because it’s good for the brand,” Trump told the Washington Post late last month. “Well, it’s not fun. I’m not doing this for enjoyment. I’m doing this because the country is in serious trouble.”
Trump hired Corey Lewandowski, a New Hampshire native, as his senior political adviser in February, the Union Leader noted. “I am more serious about this than I’ve ever been before,” Trump has said.
“The Apprentice” host flirted with a presidential run in 2012, but bowed out in May 2011 because he said his business affairs were more important. "I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election," Trump said in a statement then, according to ABC News. "I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half-heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."
Trump has already become a fixture at important events for possible Republican candidates for president, including the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in February. It was there that he boasted about getting President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate amid “birther” claims that Obama was not born in the United States. He also said he would be tough on the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
"On ISIS, nobody, if I decide to run and win, nobody would be tougher than Donald Trump. I would hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn't know what happened. I would find a general. Remember the old days of … these great generals?" he said, according to the Post. "General [Douglas] MacArthur is spinning in his grave when he sees what we did. So you gotta [hit] them hard, gotta hit them firm."
Trump is expected to be in New Hampshire Thursday to meet with veterans and business owners and is scheduled to speak at the New Hampshire GOP’s Republican Leadership Summit next month, according to the Union Leader.