An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Donald Trump said Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio had each made an "ass---- of himself." Trump said each had made an "ass out of himself."
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump all but confirmed he’ll run for the Republican presidential nomination during a stop Saturday at the N.C. GOP convention.
Trump says he’ll make his formal announcement on June 16. “I think a lot of people are going to be very happy” with the decision, Trump told The News & Observer before a sold-out speech Saturday night. “They’re tired of watching America go down. ... It’s about making America great again. I can do it, and nobody else can do it.”
He made a point of using the phrase “if I run” in his speech but voiced frustration with a disclaimer: “June 16, will you come, please, fast – I’m so tired of saying that.”
Trump referred to the constantly growing field of Republican candidates as “clowns,” and said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio have already made major gaffes.
“After watching Bush make a total ass out of himself, Rubio makes an ass out of himself,” Trump said of his potential opponents.
Addressing criticism that he lacks the political experience to be president, Trump said he’d be strong on foreign policy.
“I’ve made a lot of money beating China and other countries,” he said. “I only have experience beating other countries. Is that good experience?”
Trump offered an alternative plan for the international trade negotiations under way. He said Ford and other companies looking to move manufacturing to Mexico or overseas should face a 35 percent tax when they ship the goods back to the U.S.
That would bring the plants back home, he argued. “That’s what’s going to happen, and there are hundreds, thousands of those deals,” he said. “I will make this country so rich – if I run on the 16th – just you watch.”
Trump wasn’t modest about his credentials. “I would be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” he said. “I would be strongest by far on security, because I’m very big into the military, very big into the vets.”
He said he knows how to beat the Islamic State militants and criticized the Obama administration’s approach.
“Every single move we make militarily, we talk about it in a press conference,” he said.
Trump called President Barack Obama “most likely incompetent.” He questioned why Secretary of State John Kerry bicycles at age 71: “What the hell is he doing?” And he said Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is “unusual” because she avoids media questions. “I think she’s going to have a hard time,” he said.
He also addressed another frequent question. “It is my hair by the way,” he said. “That’s always a sign when people hate me: They say he wears a wig.”