Billionaire Donald Trump framed himself as a job-creating anti-politician in a preview of his potential 2016 presidential pitch to a crowd of conservatives in New Hampshire Saturday.
In contrast, he touted his work improving an ice-skating rink in New York City’s Central Park and defended himself against what he said were erroneous reports that he had filed for bankruptcy. He also told the crowd that America needs “somebody that’s going to make the great deals for this country.”
“We need to make our country rich again,” Trump said.
He mentioned his plans for the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., which he plans to transform into a “tremendous hotel” that will create “lots of jobs,” he explained.
Trump joked that its proximity to the White House was what made the location attractive to him.
“If I don't make the one thing, I can always have the other as a fallback position. I mean, it’s much bigger than the White House, and I’m going to try and make it just as nice,” he said, to laughter.
Trump has mulled a run for president multiple cycles but never yet pulled the trigger on a bid. The Freedom Summit, at which Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.) as well as Mike Huckabee are all speaking, is seen as an early testing-ground for potential presidential contenders.
Trump suggested this might be his time.
“I was really serious before but I’m taking a harder look this time,” he said.
And he knocked two of his potential opponents for the GOP nomination: Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), whom he said was “a very nice person” but wants to “knock the hell out of Medicare and Social Security,” and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose recent comments on immigrants coming to the U.S. out of “love” Trump described as “out there.”