Trump was introduced by his daughter Ivanka as he formally declared his 2016 intentions, descending an escalator with wife Melania to speak to a crowd gathered at the Trump Tower in New York yesterday.
The 69-year-old, who owns two golf courses in Scotland at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire and Turnberry, has made much of his Scottish roots – his mother Mary MacLeod was from Tong on the Isle of Lewis.
Known in the US as The Donald, Trump will be entering an increasingly crowded presidential race, punctuated by such big names as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is the son and brother of two former presidents, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
He declared: “I am officially running for president of the United States. We are going to make our country great again.”
He added: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
Trump took the stage in the basement of his building as speakers blasted out Neil Young’s 1989 song Rockin’ in the Free World.
He went on to attack most of the rest of the world as he bemoaned the fact that America’s leaders had let the country collapse to the level of “a third world country”. However, the brunt of his wrath was directed at Mexico, which he accused of “bringing their worst people” to America, including criminals and “rapists”.
“They’re sending us not the right people,” he said, adding: “The US has become a dumping ground for everyone else’s problems.
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems,” he said. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting.” He said that Barack Obama, and previous administrations, had allowed Mexico, China and other countries to take American jobs and prosperity.
“China has our jobs, Mexico has our jobs,” he said. “Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day, and the US as a country is getting weaker and weaker,” he said.
“How stupid are our leaders, how stupid are our politicians to let this happen.”
Trump, who boasted of having $8.7 billion in net worth, accused Republican rival Jeb Bush of being weak on education. “How the hell can you vote for this guy?” he added.
Based on guidelines recently announced by the television networks, Trump could play a prominent role in the upcoming nationally televised Republican debate in August.
Those who rank in the top 10 in national polls – and Trump currently does, although he’s close to the bottom – will earn a place on the debate stage. That could place Trump in a debate alongside leading candidates.