Real estate mogul and television personality Donald Trump announced his 2016 presidential campaign Tuesday morning.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States and we are going to make our country great again!” Trump declared.
The Republican businessman made the announcement at the eponymous Trump Tower in New York City.
In his wide-ranging and lengthy speech, Trump railed against President Barack Obama and the potential Pacific trade deal — the Trans-Pacific Partnership — while repeatedly touting his own negotiating skills.
“Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. 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?” he asked his supporters. “I beat China all the time. All the time.”
Trump said he is the only candidate who can fix the problems of the country, and he directly challenged former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by name in his remarks.
“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 — fully!” Trump said of his foes. “Our country needs a truly great leader and we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.'”
The famous real estate developer also touted his own wealth, which he previously said could be used to finance his campaign.
“I’m really rich,” he said. “That’s the kind of thinking you need for this country. Because you’ve got to make the country rich. It sounds crass. … It’s not crass.”
Later in the speech, Trump extensively discussed his net worth, which he said was roughly $9 billion.
“I’m really proud of my success, I really am. I’ve employed tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. That means medical, that means education, that means everything. So a large accounting firm and my accountants have been working for months — because it’s big and complex — and they’ve put together a statement,” Trump said.
Trump flirted with previous campaigns for higher office without ultimately running, so his potential 2016 bid was met with skepticism in political circles.
However, Trump took a number of steps that suggest he could be much more serious this time around, including hiring staffers in key primary states, forming a political fundraising committee, and setting plans to release financial disclosure documents.
For their part, Democrats seemed amused by Trump’s candidacy. The Democratic National Committee’s press secretary, Holly Shulman, released an apparently sarcastic statement praising Trump’s “seriousness.”
“Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days,” Shulman said, referencing Bush. “He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward hearing more about his ideas for the nation.”