Donald Trump is running for president, and revealed that he has $9 billion at his disposal to fund his campaign in a speech launching that effort today.
The native New Yorker, who turned his father’s modest real estate business into an empire, announced his bid for the Republican Party's 2016 nomination Tuesday from the golden tower that bears his name: Trump Plaza in Manhattan.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again," proclaimed Trump.
Although his initial campaign speech did not address his current thoughts on marriage equality, in November 2013, Trump told out MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts he was somewhere in the middle when it comes to his position on the freedom to marry.
"I think that it's an evolving process, Thomas," Trump said. "Now, of course, the United States is ahead of Russia when it comes to this stuff."
In his speech Tuesday, Trump promised he would build a "great, great wall" on the southern border — and that he would make Mexico pay for it. Mexicans "are not our friends," he said.
Trump railed against President Obama and a controversial Pacific trade deal that was recently voted down, while boasting of his own skills as negotiator.
"Our country is in serious trouble. We don't have victories anymore," Trump lamented. "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? I beat China all the time. All the time."
He repeatedly called U.S. leaders "stupid," saying free trade can be "wonderful if you have smart people. We have people who are stupid."
Trump also compared Chinese leaders to American leaders: "Their leaders are much smarter than our leaders. It's like taking the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That's the difference between our leaders and China's leaders."
He knocked Republican challenger Jeb Bush by name for supporting the Common Core and immigration reform, saying, "How the hell can you vote for this guy?"
Speaking of his other, more-established Republican opponents, Trump declared: "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!"
By contrast, Trump said that his wealth allows him to refuse to cater to lobbyists and donors, because "I don't need it."
Trump also plugged his 1987 memoir: "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.'"
He has teased the electorate before, more times than he’s combed-over his hair, starting with a movement to draft him as a candidate in 1988. But this time he appears not just serious, but invested.
Trump has staffers in key primary states, formed his own political fundraising committee, and released financial disclosure documents today indicating his net worth is $9 billion, first reported by The Washington Post. The two-page document provides a valuation of Trump's hotels and other properties. It also shows hundreds of millions in cash on hand, and an outline of his debts.
The Post notes that this is among the first times Trump has ever shared details of the worth of his real estate and television empire.