For years Donald Trump has boasted about what a great president he would make, brashly calling out pols as finks and phonies while never actually running for any elected office himself. That came to an end Tuesday morning with a rally at the Midtown Manhattan tower that bears his name.
“I don’t like what I see happening to America,” Trump said in a video released by his campaign. Over footage of America’s infrastructure collapsing, businesses shuttering, and unemployment, he continued: “Our politicians are all talk, no action.”
Echoing comments he made in January, when he vowed to make a “beauty” of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Trump said: “Millions of people are flowing across our southern border. We need to build a real wall.“
“With all of this, our country has tremendous potential,” he concluded. “Let’s make America great again.”
Trump, the tycoon who parlayed his own cartoonish imperiousness into a successful reality television career, enters a highly congested Republican primary field. What he lacks in political bona fides he will try to compensate with money ($9 billion in assets), name recognition, and swagger.
As he enters his first political campaign, here are five things from The Donald’s formidable career to keep in mind.
1. He likes to file for bankruptcy.
Trump has repeatedly said that he would run the country the way he’s run his businesses. Which is not exactly inspiring given that, despite his considerable wealth, Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times.
The Donald himself has largely emerged from these bankruptcies with his personal wealth intact because when these LLCs, limited partnerships,and corporations go under, it’s rarely his money at stake, according to a 2011 report in Forbes.
“I’ve cut debt — by the way, this isn’t me personally, it’s a company,” Trump said. “Basically I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage and to other people’s advantage … just as many, many others on top of the business world have.”
Trump praises himself for “great timing” by jumping ship from his grandiose projects when they’re about to fail.
2. He built his political following by becoming a “birther.”
In the run-up to the 2012 election (in which he did not run), Trump garnered publicity — and drove up his ratings for The Apprentice — by being one of the most outspoken, prominent Republicans to insist that President Obama was born in Kenya.
“We don’t know a thing about this guy,” Trump said at the time. “There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president.”
Shortly after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011, he proceeded to roast a stone-faced Trump in merciless fashion at the White House Correspondents Dinner:
No one is happier — no one is prouder — to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like: “Did we fake the moon landing?” “What really happened in Roswell?” and “Where are Biggie and Tupac?” All kidding aside, obviously we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example… in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice… you fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.