Donald Trump Announces He Won’t Seek U.S. Presidential Nomination in 2012

Donald Trump, the real-estate developer turned reality television star, said today he won’t run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

“Business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector,” he said in a statement.

Trump, 64, had been flirting with a presidential bid for months, traveling to early primary states, including New Hampshire, and emerging as a critic of President Barack Obama.

His announcement came as NBC rolled out its fall lineup, which included another season of his television show “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Trump will continue as host of the program, which got extra boosts of publicity from his recent public deliberations and his announcement today.

“Until this morning, I wasn’t 100 percent sure” that Trump would announce he wasn’t running, said Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment. “It’s a great place to announce it.”

Trump is the second potential Republican candidate to say no to a bid in recent days. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee staged a similar announcement -- that he wouldn’t enter the race -- on May 14 at the end of his Fox News Channel program, following a two-day media blitz that attracted viewers.

Trump said he had a “strong conviction” that he could have beaten Obama in the general election, though he recognized that running for office couldn’t be done “half heartedly.”

He promised to remain politically active and push politicians to take a tougher stance toward China and other economic competitors.

Voice Opinions ‘Loudly’

“I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician’s thoughts,” Trump said in the statement.

A poll released today showed that voters didn’t view Trump as a viable presidential candidate, with 71 percent of the 1,000 registered likely voters surveyed for the Politico-GW Battleground Poll saying he didn’t have “any chance” of being elected. A May 13 Bloomberg Global Poll showed that Trump was viewed unfavorably by 68 percent of investors internationally and by 79 percent in the U.S.

Trump gained attention in recent weeks by questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S. and whether he was eligible to be president. He also questioned the president’s school grades, suggesting Obama may have gotten special treatment to gain admission to undergraduate and graduate programs, including Harvard Law School, where the president graduated magna cum laude.

Birth Certificate

Obama on April 27 released a long form of his birth certificate that stated he was born in Honolulu. Obama said it was time to stop being “distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”

Trump had considered a presidential bid several times in the past, including in 1999 when he formed an exploratory committee to consider running for the nomination to be a third- party candidate with the Reform party.

A number of potential Republican candidates are expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is expected to make a decision by the end of the month, and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann said she would announce her plans in June.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has announced his candidacy, and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to raise money for potential runs. Representative Ron Paul of Texas announced his third White House bid in New Hampshire on May 13.

Palin, Santorum

Other potential candidates include former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who stepped down as U.S. ambassador to China at the end of April.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said April 25 he wouldn’t enter the race because he lacked an “absolute fire in the belly” to run.

As the Republican race gears up, Obama has opened his 2012 re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago and raised millions of dollars last month at events in Illinois, California and New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Lerer in Washington at llerer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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