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Donald Trump might really run for president this time

Donald Trump forms committee in anticipation of 2016 run

Add Donald Trump to the list – seriously this time.

The billionaire entrepreneur and showman announced Wednesday he’s forming an exploratory committee to help him decide whether he will run for president in 2016.

Calling himself "the only one who can make America truly great again," Trump joins a growing list of almost a dozen Republicans who are actively exploring 2016 bids for the White House.

In recent months, Trump has traveled to Iowa and South Carolina, and this week he’ll head to New Hampshire to meet with local small-business owners and veterans.  

At the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, Trump said he was pondering a run and criticized both 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is exploring a run for the office held by both his father and older brother.

“You can’t have Bush. The last thing we need is another Bush,” Trump said at the summit.

Trump said in a statement he has hired several people in the key early voting primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. 

Should Trump formally enter the race he would be a long shot at best, though he could cause a stir by assailing more moderate candidates, which could hinder the party in a general election.

The businessman has consistently hammered President Obama on numerous occasions, including with so-called “birther” comments by questioning if the president was born in the United States.

Trump, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $4 billion, would be able to self-fund a possible presidential run.

In 2012, Trump toyed with the idea of running for president, before ultimately deciding against it and instead returning to NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday reported that Trump will not renew his contract with NBC to focus on his presidential exploratory committee.

Times Staff Writer Cathleen Decker contributed to this report. 

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


7:05 a.m. This post has been updated with additional information. 

This post was orginally published at 6:29 a.m.