May 14, 2015 5:26 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
PORTSMOUTH - “By the way, I have much better hair than he does, and it is my hair, you can see it, right.”
Donald Trump, joking about his famous hairdo as he compared his coiffure to that of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
But when it comes to running for the White House, this time around Donald Trump appears to be serious.
“I look at what’s happening and I say to myself, ‘it’s time we have to do something because our country’s going to hell’,” the real estate mogul and reality TV star said to a large group of business leaders at a luncheon organized by prominent GOP activist Renee Plummer.
The one day visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state was Trump’s fourth since March. While Trump’s flirted with presidential bids before, most recently four years ago, this time he’s taking concrete steps towards launching a GOP campaign: hiring staff in New Hampshire and the other early voting states, opening an office in Manchester, and setting up a presidential exploratory committee.
In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News following the luncheon, Trump said “I would say by the middle of June, the end of June, I will make a decision. I think people are going to be very surprised. I think I’ve made most of that decision already in my own mind.”
Trump added that the Granite State would be one of his first stops following any presidential announcement, saying “I’ll be here, I’ll be here. I’m going to go to Iowa, I’m going to go here. I’m going to go to different places.”
During the luncheon Trump was critical of two likely rivals for the GOP nomination, Rubio, who has already launched a campaign, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who’s all but certain to run.
Asked if he was breaking Ronald Reagan’s 11th amendment that Republican should refrain from attacking fellow Republicans, Trump said “I was a friend of Ronald Reagan and I helped Ronald Reagan with his election and I have respect for Ronald Reagan. But I didn’t say anything bad. I just said Rubio had a horrible story on the front page of the New York Times.”
“And as far as Jeb Bush is concerned he’s a disaster on Common Core. He wants your children in New Hampshire to be educated by Washington and bureaucrats in Washington that don’t care about the kids, they just want to pick up a check. He’s weak on immigration, very weak. And then he goes on Megan Kelly and makes a fool out of himself on the Iraq War, that he’d do it all over again,” Trump said.
“I don’t care how much money he can raise because of the old Republican network, I don’t’ think he can get elected,” he added.
Trump’s also critical of Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Asked about a report in the Daily Caller that Trump in the past had donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, Trump said “Well a long time ago Bill Clinton called me up. He asked me to donate. He’s always been very nice to me. But frankly I donate because I’m a professional. I’m in business. He wants a donation. I give him a donation.”
“When the Clinton Foundation would call, I would donate. I’ve contributed millions and millions of dollars to different charities and I’m very proud of it,” he added.
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