Trump drops 'Apprentice,' will launch presidential exploratory committee
Donald Trump will launch a presidential exploratory committee Wednesday, the eve of the business mogul’s return to New Hampshire.
A senior adviser tells the New Hampshire Union Leader that Trump will not be renewing his contract with NBC for the reality television “Apprentice” series.
Combined with staff hires, Trump’s announcement that he will form an exploratory committee for the first time is a sign the billionaire is seriously considering running for the Republican nomination.
Trump’s statement on forming the exploratory committee hints at the razzle-dazzle to come for a turbo-charged personality known for skewering the political establishment.
He refers to politicians who are “all talk and no action,” his tremendous business success, and how he is “the only one who can make America truly great again!”
Job creation, improving manufacturing, border security, rebuilding infrastructure, strengthening the military and local control of education are some of Trump’s priorities, according to his forthcoming announcement.
UPDATE: Trump's full statement March 18 on launching the exploratory:
"I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble. We have lost the respect of the entire world. Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians – who are all talk and no action! I have built a great company, created thousands of jobs and built a tremendous net worth with some of the finest and most prestigious assets in the world – and very little debt! All Americans deserve the same opportunity. Our real unemployment rate is staggering while our manufacturing base is eroding on a daily basis. We must rebuild our infrastructure, control our borders, support local control of education, greatly strengthen our military, care for our veterans and put Americans back to work! We must stop other countries from totally taking advantage of our representatives who are being out-negotiated at every turn. I am the only one who can make America truly great again!"
Trump has flirted with running for President before, but his moves ahead of 2016 are far more concrete.
He has a team of political advisers based in New York and he has hired staff in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Senior political adviser Corey Lewandowski, who is a Granite Stater, was hired in February.
Lewandowski cited Trump’s vision and leadership and called him a problem-solver.
According to Lewandowski, “Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett personally called Trump to offer another season of the “Apprentice” but Trump turned him down.
“Nobody in the history of television has turned down a renewal,” Lewandowski said in a phone interview with the Union Leader. “But Mr. Trump can do that.”
Trump visits New Hampshire on Thursday to meet with a group of local veterans and business owners. He is scheduled to speak to the media before a 5:30 p.m. reception at the home of state Rep. Steve Stepanek, R-Amherst.
Trump is also one of the confirmed possible presidential hopefuls to speak at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s “First in the Nation” Republican Leadership Summit being held in Nashua on April 17-18.