Donald Trump is gunning for the White House – and this time, he means it.
The billionaire businessman and reality-TV star officially announced his bid for the presidency Tuesday from the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, ending what the Guardian noted was nearly 30 years of false starts.
Following a grand entrance via escalator, Mr. Trump introduced his campaign slogan, “Make America great again,” then launched into an unusual, 40-minute speech about his plans for facing the nation’s most hot-button issues.
Take immigration. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” he told his audience, who filled three floors of the building. “Mark my words.”
He also gave his two cents on the Islamic State group. “Islamic terrorism is eating up large portions of the Middle East,” Trump said. “Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump.”
And, of course, he took on “the big lie” that is Obamacare and its $5 billion website: “It’s a disaster … To this day it doesn’t work,” Trump said, adding, “I have so many websites all over the place. I hire people, they do a website, it costs $3.”
He also said the US was losing to other nations, such as Japan and China.
“When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China, in a trade deal?” he asked. “China is killing us.”
At the same time, Trump vowed to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created” – the opposite, he implied, of President Obama, whom Trump called “a bad negotiator.”
Trump also addressed his own wealth and success, citing them as proof of his ability as a leader.
“I don’t need anybody’s money ... I’m really rich,” he said. A team of accountants has calculated his total net worth to be more than $8 billion, he added, with assets of more than $9.2 billion.
“That’s the kind of mindset you need for this country,” Trump said. “We have the opposite thinking. We have losers … We have people that are morally corrupt.”
The announcement was an event unlike any the GOP has seen, Politico reported: a full-on production, complete with gossip reporters, a Broadway soundtrack, and people waving signs that read, “Donald, we need YOU!!!” Despite the fanfare, however, Trump does face a few challenges on the road to the White House.
For one thing, as of noon on Tuesday, he had yet to file paperwork regarding his candidacy or finances, leaving him 15 days to do so, according to Politico.
Then there’s the question of whether he can win any actual voters.
“Donald Trump has a -27 percentage point net favorable rating ... Among Republicans,” FiveThirtyEight polling expert Harry Enten tweeted on Monday. “Yea, he’s going far.”
But don't count out The Donald just yet: some experts say Trump’s showmanship and mockery of the political process could work in his favor.
“There are substantial parts of the American population who think it’s already a joke – that it’s fundamentally not on the level,” GOP strategist Steve Schmidt told the Los Angeles Times. “A candidate like [Trump] has a potential to tap into that in a pretty powerful way. No doubt about it.”