Donald Trump enters US presidential race

Real estate developer Donald Trump with his family at the Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday, after announcing that he will seek the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race. The 69-year-old vowed to be "the greatest jobs president th
Real estate developer Donald Trump with his family at the Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday, after announcing that he will seek the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race. The 69-year-old vowed to be "the greatest jobs president that God ever created".PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK - Mr Donald J. Trump, the garrulous US real estate developer whose name has adorned apartment buildings, hotels, Trump-branded neckties and steaks, has entered the 2016 United States presidential race, brandishing his wealth and fame as his chief qualifications for the Republican nomination.

Mr Trump, 69, declared his candidacy on Tuesday in the atrium of the Trump Tower, a luxury skyscraper in New York City, proclaiming that only someone "really rich" - like himself - could restore US economic primacy.

Mr Trump's previous presidential posturing has seldom been taken seriously: Ahead of the 2000 and 2012 elections, he twice hyped up the chance of seeking the White House post before abandoning the idea.

But this time, Mr Trump pledged to be "the greatest jobs president that God ever created", as he attacked China and Mexico as economic competitors. "We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again," said Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has long boasted of his credentials as an entrepreneur and mocked the accomplishments of prominent elected officials. He has used his position as host of reality television show The Apprentice to burnish his pop-culture image as a formidable man of affairs.

But it seems a remote prospect that Republicans, stung in 2012 by the caricature of their nominee Mitt Romney as a politically tone-deaf financier, would nominate a real estate magnate who has published books such as Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich - And Why Most Don't.

Still, thanks to his media profile, he stands a good chance of qualifying for national TV debates, where his appetite for combat and skill at playing to the gallery could make him a powerfully disruptive presence.

Mr Trump is also widely disliked: A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that seven in 10 voters hold an unfavourable view of him, including 52 per cent of Republicans.

That disapproval now includes singer-songwriter Neil Young, who accused Mr Trump of not having permission to use his hit, Rockin' In The Free World, as his campaign launch theme on Tuesday.

"Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for president of the United States of America," said a statement, referring to the liberal senator seeking the Democratic nomination.

Ironically, the song is famously liberal, having been written as an indictment of the poverty policies of the elder president George H. W. Bush, a Republican just like Mr Trump.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2015, with the headline 'Donald Trump enters US presidential race'. Print Edition | Subscribe