Donald Trump is no longer a Republican, fueling further speculation that he might be close to launching a third-party presidential bid.
The business and reality TV mogul — who recently backed out of moderating a GOP debate and has had a back-and-forth flirtation with the idea of making his own presidential run — has switched his party affiliation from “Republican” to “unaffiliated,” ABC News reported.
A source close to Trump said the switch happened Thursday because of how “disgusted” he is with the way Republicans are handling things in Washington, according to the network.
Trump special counsel Michael Cohen confirmed to Politico Trump made the switch “in order to preserve his right to run as an independent if he is [not pleased] with the GOP nominee.”
In a web video released just last week, Trump toyed with the idea again.
“Around the middle of May I’ll be able to do whatever I want and I could run as an independent,” Trump said. “If the Republicans pick the wrong person I would, in fact, seriously consider running.”
But according to Politico, sources familiar with New York’s Board of Elections rules said Trump may have missed the cutoff deadline to allow his new registration to take effect for next year: While he has filed the paperwork, state rules dictate he won’t become an independent until after the November 2012 general election.
Trump has a history of switching his political party affiliation: According to ABC, he registered as a Republican in the late 1980s before becoming a Democrat in 2001. He switched back to the GOP in 2009.