Donald Trump has once again said that if Republican primary voters can't pick a candidate he believes will beat President Obama, he'll run for president himself.
Trump made the comment in an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer Monday while promoting his new book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again," out that same day.Video: Trump: I’d consider an independent run (on this page)
If “the wrong candidate is nominated to run” and “it’s a candidate that’s not going to win and not very good,’’ Trump said he would “certainly think about running as an independent.’’ Despite dalliances with a possible presidential bid in the past, Trump said he has never seriously considered it until this year.
The "Apprentice" host will moderate a Republican debate in Des Moines on Dec. 27, one week before the Iowa caucuses.
Newt Gingrich is the only potential candidate set to attend the debate, an event that has been derided by the campaigns of Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. The debate contributes to “an unwanted, circus-like atmosphere,’’ according to Paul, while Huntsman’s campaign called it “the presidential ‘Apprentice’ debate with Donald.’’Video: Gingrich gains as Cain suspends campaign (on this page)
“I think most candidates are going to join, and I think those two candidates have zero chance of being elected so it makes no difference,’’ Trump said. “I think that they are joke candidates. They’re doing very poorly and certainly Mr. Huntsman is doing extremely poorly in the polls at one percent. Frankly it gives more airtime to people that really have a chance at getting elected. I think it will get tremendous ratings.’’
One candidate Trump would like to have is front-runner Mitt Romney, whose support has eroded in Iowa and New Hampshire. Romney has visited Trump Tower “a number of times,’’ according to Trump, even though reports have said Romney has only visited Trump's office twice during this election cycle. Romney is careful to avoid photographers and the press when visiting the Manhattan-based mogul.Story: ‘Tough’ talk: Donald Trump's plan for American prosperity
Romney is down seven points in Iowa and six points New Hampshire in the latest polls.
“I’m a little surprised,’’ Trump said. “He’s a very attractive guy. He doesn’t get traction, and I’ve actually spoken to him about it. I don’t understand it.’’
Trump addressed recent controversial comments by Gingrich, who said that children in poor neighborhoods “have no habit of showing up on Monday and staying all day’’ because they have no role models.
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“It wasn’t maybe politically correct, but it happens to be the truth,’’ Trump said. “One of the reasons (Gingrich is) surging, and he’s like a rocket ship, is because he says it like it is. He really is looking at the inner city, where Obama has done nothing.
“No, (poor children) don’t have, in many cases, role models. It’s very sad. I know it’s not a popular statement, but it happens to be true.’’Video: Trump gets testy during msnbc interview
Trump reveals his own net worth in his new book. He told Lauer his fortune is worth seven billion dollars and he has 300 million dollars in cash in the bank.
“Frankly I did it because I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to do,’’ Trump said about the financial disclosure. “I’ve built a great company.’’
For Trump, priority number one is defeating Obama.
“Frankly, I have a lot of people, millions of people, that follow me because they’re tired of seeing this country…getting ripped off by China, by OPEC, by almost every country that does business with us,’’ he said. “I’m tired of it and a lot of other people are tired of it.
“I want a great candidate, a candidate that is going to beat President Obama. It’s very important. It’s vital to this country. If we don’t get that candidate we are in big trouble because the country is in big trouble. It’s being led down the drain.’’
NBC figures show that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire would be less likely to support a candidate who gets Trump’s support by a 2-1 margin.
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