Real estate mogul Donald Trump is officially in the race for the White House.
After months — and indeed years — of flirting with the idea, Trump made the announcement from Trump Tower in New York City, and it did not disappoint.
Donald Trump visits Turnberry Golf Club after its $10 million refurbishment, June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States. And we are going to make our country great again," Trump said. "I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I'll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I'll bring back our jobs and I'll bring back our money."
Trump framed himself as the ultimate outsider: a non-politician and self-made billionaire. He said he is wealthy enough to reject special interests and stressed that he would focus heavily on fairer trade with China, Japan and Mexico.
He said America is lagging behind, and he's the only one who can fix it.
"We don't have victories anymore," Trump said. "When is the last time we beat China in a trade deal? I beat China all the time."
He warned of China's buildup, but praised its infrastructure and progress as compared to the United States. “I love China," he said. "Their leaders are much smarter than our leaders."
He repeatedly called Obamacare "the big lie" and "a disaster."
"You have to get hit by a tractor, literally a tractor, to use it," Trump said. "We have to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better, let it be for everybody."
On the national security front, Trump proclaimed, “Nobody will be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump."
Trump said the country needs "a truly great leader" but also "a cheerleader." He said he expected Obama to be a cheerleader, but called him a "negative force."
"We need somebody who can take the American brand and make it great again," Trump said.
As the crowd chanted, "We want Trump," he responded, "Well, you need somebody because politicians are all talk. They will not bring us to the promised land."
Trump said he is a free-trader but opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership because he doesn’t trust Obama to negotiate a good deal. He cited the Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal swap, in which the Taliban got back five fighters they wanted, and "we got a traitor."
He also didn't shy away from his massive wealth, saying his net worth is about $9 billion.
“I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I’m using my own money. I’m not using lobbyists' money. I’m not using donors' money. I’m really rich,” Trump said. “By the way, I’m not even saying that in a braggadocios way. We’ve got to make the country rich.”
Following Trump's announcement, NBC said in a statement it plans to "re-evaluate" his role as host of "The Celebrity Apprentice."
"We will re-evaluate Trump’s role as host of Celebrity Apprentice should it become necessary, as we are committed to this franchise," the network said.
Trump called out several of his new Republican rivals by name, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for his answer about Iraq and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for his support of immigration reform and Common Core.
“I will end Common Core. It is a disaster,” Trump said. “Bush is in favor of Common Core. I don’t see how he gets the nomination. He’s weak on immigration. He’s for Common Core.”
Trump hinted at entering the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but bowed out after pursuing the theory that Obama was not born in the United States. Trump also talked about running for running for the 2000 Reform Party nomination, but opted against jumping in. He said his first choice for a vice presidential running mate would be Oprah Winfrey.
The Democratic National Committee wasted little time weighing in on Trump's announcement, putting out a statement before he finished speaking: "Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days. He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation."
Madeleine Morgenstern contributed to this report.