WASHINGTON — Donald Trump announced plans Wednesday to form a presidential exploratory committee.
"I am the only one who can make America truly great again," the Republican businessman and reality television star declared in a statement announcing the move.
While a step short of a formal campaign launch, the formation of an exploratory allows him to begin raising money and hire staff as he weighs a White House bid. Trump said he's already hired political aides in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which host the first three contests on the presidential nominating calendar.
"I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble," Trump said in a wide-ranging statement that called for rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, improving border security, strengthening the military and improving the economy. "Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians who are all talk and no action."
The outspoken Republican has long hinted at presidential aspirations, but he appears more serious this time. He recently said he would not renew his contract with NBC for his reality show, "The Apprentice."
Trump is scheduled to appear in New Hampshire later in the week.