“Celebrity Apprentice” star tells upfront audience he “will not be running for president, as much as I'd like to”
Donald Trump announced on Monday that he will not run for president in 2012.
"I will not be running for president," Trump told the audience at NBC's Upfront presentation with advertisers. "As much as I'd like to."
The "Celebrity Apprentice" star, who has purportedly flirted with the idea of a 2012 run for months, met with NBC executives on Monday before the network's Upfront presentation in New York to confirm his decision not to run.
As TheWrap reported over the weekend, NBC executives were prepared to replace Trump on the reality show, which will return in January.
"We're hoping that he's back with us," NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt told reporters on Sunday evening. If not, "there will be somebody else sitting at the head of the boardroom table."
Trump and his the birther-based candidacy were hit with a one-two punch late last month when President Obama released his long-form birth certificate (which Trump took credit for) then skewered his would-be opponent in 2012 at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner — with the real estate tycoon in the room.
According to a Politico/George Washington University poll released Monday, more than two-thirds of Americans — 71 percent — said Trump had "no chance" of winning the 2012 election.
Below, Trump's full statement:
After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.
I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run. My gratitude for your faith and trust in me could never be expressed properly in words. So, I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician's thoughts. My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country. I will continue to push our President and the country's policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness. Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country's conversation. They are now being debated vigorously. I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country's top priority and something that I know a lot about. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don't have a medium through which to articulate.
I look forward to supporting the candidate who is the most qualified to help us tackle our country's most important issues and am hopeful that, when this person emerges, he or she will have the courage to take on the challenges of the Office and be the agent of change that this country so desperately needs."
Thank you and God Bless America!
Donald J. Trump