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Donald Trump will not run for president, returning for another season of 'Celebrity Apprentice' [Updated]

May 16, 2011 | 10:20 am

Donald Donald Trump will return for the next season of "Celebrity Apprentice" and will not become a candidate for the presidency, he announced Monday afternoon in New York at an NBC upfront presentation to media buyers. 

The reality star/businessman's announcement was brief: "I have decided that we are going to continue onward with 'Celebrity Apprentice'... I will not be running for president, as much as I'd like to" -- at which point there was a big cheer from the audience. 

Trump had been teasing a possible run for the presidency in recent months and raised his political profile by calling for President Obama's birth certificate to be released. In April, he made headlines by challenging the president during appearances on the "Today" show and "The View," and a Gallup poll found Trump tied for first place with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who announced over the weekend that he would not run.

But Trump's popularity as a candidate began to slide in early May when the president released his birth certificate, poked fun at Trump during the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and interrupted an episode of "Celebrity Apprentice" with news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 58% of registered voters said they "would never vote" for Trump.

Meanwhile, his show may not have gotten the boost he had expected from his media blitz: Nielsen ratings for "Celebrity Apprentice" are lower than they were a year ago. According to research provided to the Atlantic by the firm National Media Inc., the audience for "Celebrity Apprentice" is among the most liberal in prime-time television. It's possible that Trump's contentious interviews drove some viewers away.

Trump's full statement about his decision not to run for president follows below:

"After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.

"I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run. My gratitude for your faith and trust in me could never be expressed properly in words. So, I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician’s thoughts.  My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country.  I will continue to push our President and the country’s policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness.  Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country’s conversation. They are now being debated vigorously. I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country’s top priority and something that I know a lot about. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don’t have a medium through which to articulate.  

"I look forward to supporting the candidate who is the most qualified to help us tackle our country’s most important issues and am hopeful that, when this person emerges, he or she will have the courage to take on the challenges of the Office and be the agent of change that this country so desperately needs.

"Thank you and God Bless America!"

Photo: Donald Trump in Nashua, N.H., on May 11, 2011. Credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters

RELATED:

Full Show Tracker coverage of Donald Trump and "Celebrity Apprentice"

 

RELATED:

Full Show Tracker coverage of Donald Trump and "Celebrity Apprentice"

 -- Joy Press

Photo: Donald Trump in Nashua, N.H., on May 11, 2011. Credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters

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