Donald Trump officially endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Thursday, praising the Republican front-runner for his business sense and stance on foreign policy.

Speaking from the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas, the real-estate mogul and onetime presidential hopeful announced his endorsement two days ahead of the Nevada caucuses and fooled speculators who thought he was actually going to support Newt Gingrich.

Below is a transcript of the endorsement:


TRUMP: Whether it be OPEC, or the OPEC nations, or China, or anybody we do business with throughout the world, they take advantage of us, they laugh at us, they can't believe their good fortunes. I knew these people, and they can't believe [what] they are getting away with. Though we really have an opportunity to do something great for the country.

Just a little while ago, I didn't even mention this, but the CBO chief in Washington announced that unemployment is going up to 9.2 percent by sometime in January. So it's going to go up, and the growth rate is going to be at about 1 percent. So this just came out, not so good news.

It's my honor, real honor, and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney. (applause). And by the way, this is a great couple. You look at this couple-but Mitt is tough he's smart, he's sharp, he's not going to allow bad things to happen to this country that we all love. So Gov. Romney, go out and get them. You can do it. (applause)

ROMNEY: There are some things you can't imagine happening in your life and this is one of them. Being in Donald Trump's magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. I'm so honored and pleased to have his endorsement and of course I am looking for the endorsement of the people of Nevada.

Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to show how our economy works, to create jobs for the American people. He's done it here in Nevada, he's done it across the country, he understands that our economy is facing threats from abroad, he's one of the few people who stood up and said, you know what, China has been cheating. They've taken jobs from Americans, they haven't played fair. We have to have a president who will stand up to cheaters. We believe in free trade and free enterprise but we don't believe in allowing people to cheat day in and day out.

I'm going to work very, very hard to make sure the people in this country that that just being projected by the CBO. Their analysis of what's going to happen in the future of America is driven by the policies from a president who's failing. He's frequently telling us that he did not cause the recession, and that's true, but he made it worse. And he made the recovery long and tepid.

The people here in Nevada are suffering. So many people have their homes under water, it's extraordinary. And Nevada leads the nation in a very negative way, which is if you look at foreclosures of the last 90 days, Nevada is number one in the nation. This is a very tough time for the people of Nevada.  And I want to do everything in my power to get this economy going again. So people can be in homes they can afford, so people can come here for tourism, so the American people can have rising incomes again, so we can make sure America stands strong around the world.

We have a president who may be a nice guy, but he is way over his head. He does not understand what it takes to get America working again. And I do. I spent my life in the private sector, not quite as successful as this guy, but successful nonetheless, sufficiently successful to understand what it takes to get America to be the most attractive place in the world for innovators, entrepreneurs, and business and job creators. I want America to be the place where people want to come and grow. And I will use all my energy to get America working again, to help the people of this country to have rising incomes and good homes that are worth something again.

So I want to say thank you to Donald Trump for his endorsement. It means a great deal for me to have the endorsement of Mr. Trump and people across this country that care about the future of America.  I think it's time for us to recognize we can't keep going down the road we're on.  We have to dramatically change course. We have to restructure the way the government interacts with people.  Our government is too big, it's too intrusive, it's placed too great burdens on people of this country. I will dramatically change the way this country is working.  I'll also stand up for our friends abroad and make sure America remains the shining city on a hill.

Thank you so much for your help and your endorsement today, and I look forward to seeing you on the trail.