Real estate mogul Donald Trump, saying he is more serious than he's ever been about a potential presidential bid in 2012, criticized President Barack Obama and other U.S. political leaders for allowing the country to become "badly decimated."
Trump appeared at a news conference Thursday with Mikhail Saakashvili, president of Georgia, to announce plans to develop two luxury properties there. Trump praised Saakashvili for political and economic reform efforts in that country, suggesting the U.S. was lagging far behind.
"You see what's happened with the Republic of Georgia and you see what's happening to our country," Trump said, pointing to high unemployment, spiking gas and food prices and the weak U.S. dollar. "You see what can be done with proper leadership. We in this country, we don't have that leadership. We're being badly decimated in this country. We're like a whipping post."
Trump has said for weeks that he would announce in June whether he would seek the Republican nomination to challenge Obama. He told reporters Thursday that he would stick to that plan.
"I am seriously considering it, because of what's happened to our country that I love," Trump said.
Testing the waters
Earlier this week, Michael Cohen, a top Trump business associate, traveled to Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state, to meet with Republican activists. Trump, along with several other potential GOP contenders, spoke to a gathering of top conservative leaders in Washington last month.
Saakashvili drew laughs when asked if he thought Trump should make a presidential bid.
"If he decides to run for president of Georgia, he might win," Saakashvili said, adding that he had a good relationship with Obama and others in the administration.
"The whole world wants America to be great, to be a successful country. Lots of things are at stake. The world depends on that," Saakashvili said.
Trump said his business projects across the globe had introduced him to many business and political leaders — connections he would draw upon if he seeks the presidency.
"I have a lot of relationships with many leaders in the world," Trump said. "I understand how the world works. I deal with the world."