CBS News – Billionaire businessman and reality television star Donald Trump officially announced his 2016 presidential candidacy on Tuesday with a promise to do for America what he’s always done for himself: nurture the brand.
“We need somebody who can take the brand of the United States and make it great again,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen: I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again.”
Trump suggested the country is in deep trouble, and that politicians in both parties simply aren’t equipped to come to the rescue.
“I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life. If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you, you’re certainly not very good,” he said. “They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They’re controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests.”
What America needs, Trump continued, is more action, less talk.
“Our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now,” he said. “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military.”
Trump delivered his grand announcement from the lobby of a skyscraper that bears his name in Manhattan. He was introduced by his daughter Ivanka, who noted, perhaps unnecessarily, “My father is the opposite of politically correct. He says what he means and he means what he says.”
Trump then made his entrance, stepping onto an escalator landing above the stage. He waved to the crowd and rode the escalator down to begin his speech.
He also announced his net worth – $8,737,540,000, over twice what Forbes had recently estimated. Much of the speech focused on Trump’s conviction that the U.S. is getting bilked by other countries, allies and enemies alike.
“We don’t have victories anymore,” he said. “We used to have victories. But we don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, china, in a trade deal. They kill us. I beat China all the time.”
“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” he continued. “And these aren’t the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…they’re sending people that have lots of problems…they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
“Saudi Arabia, they make a billion dollars a day,” he later added. “I love the Saudis. Many are in this building. Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships…what are we doing? They got nothing but money. If the right person asks them, they’d pay a fortune. They wouldn’t be there, except for us.”
Trump, who’s running as a Republican, touched some traditionally conservative themes. He called Obamacare “the big lie,” and vowed to replace it with something better and cheaper. He argued “the greatest social program is a job,” vowing to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”