Trump made the announcement at Trump Tower in New York, descending on a escalator to the podium, standing in front of a line-up. He portrayed himself as a tough negotiator and entrepreneur who can succeed where other political leaders have failed.
"Our country is in serious trouble," he told them in a rambling address. "We don't have victories any more....When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let's say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time."
A man in the audience shouted, "We need Trump now!" Nodding, Trump responded, "Right."
That said, it's hard to find a political analyst who sees Trump as a credible contender for the Republican nomination.
Nathan Gonzales, a non-partisan political analyst and editor of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, called him an unwelcome distraction for the GOP.
"It's a big headache for the Republican Party," he said. "Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee for president. Any time that he consumes on the debate stage and in the media is time he's taking away from a legitimate contender."
He is likely to be on the debate stage. Fox News, sponsor of the first sanctioned debate, says it will be limited to the top 10 candidates in the polls. At the moment, Trump ranks ninth in the GOP field, according to the
RealClearPolitics rolling average of polls.
It's not the first time Trump has suggested he might seek the presidency. Not even close.