The Associated Press reports:
Donald Trump announced plans Wednesday to form a presidential exploratory committee. “I am the only one who can make America truly great again,” the Republican businessman and reality television star declared in a statement announcing the move. While a step short of a formal campaign launch, the formation of an exploratory allows him to begin raising money and hire staff as he weighs a White House bid. Trump said he’s already hired political aides in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which host the first three contests on the presidential nominating calendar. “I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble,” Trump said in a wide-ranging statement that called for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, improving border security, strengthening the military and improving the economy. “Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians who are all talk and no action.”
(Tipped by JMG reader Thomas)
UPDATE: More from Politico:
NBC Entertainment is planning to go ahead with production of Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” Season 15, despite the fact that the real estate mogul is reportedly dropping the show in order to form a presidential exploratory committee. “The show has been picked up for another season, production dates TBD,” an NBC Entertainment source told the On Media blog. The decision to go ahead with the renewal, which was announced last month, suggests that NBC Entertainment executives aren’t putting much stock in Trump’s presidential bid. Trump has teased the idea of a presidential run multiple times, but never actually followed through. On Wednesday, Trump announced that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee and that he had made “several key hires” in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as advisers based in New York. Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Trump told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the ‘Apprentice’ host would not be renewing his contract with NBC.