Businessman Donald Trump said he is giving “serious thought” to running for president in 2016 and that he thinks he would be the best person for the job.
Trump spent most of his 30-minute keynote speech at the S.C. Tea Party Coalition Convention held at Springmaid Beach Resort on Monday afternoon saying that he is the best person to lead the country.
He told a room of about 800 people that he stands apart from others who have been mentioned as potential candidates for president.
“I can get things done,” he said. “I know how to do it.”
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He spoke against former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who both have said they are considering running in 2016.
“I was right in 2012,” he said. “I said that I don’t see a strong candidate, but we had Mitt Romney and we went with Mitt Romney and he failed. He let us all down, to be honest with you. For him to be running again is outrageous.”
Trump pointed to what he said were former President George W. Bush’s shortcomings as reason why voters should stay away from Jeb Bush.
“The last thing this country needs is another Bush,” he said. “[George W.] Bush, he didn’t do so hot. You could have brought [Abraham] Lincoln back and he would have lost.”
Myrtle Beach resident Sandy Adams said she already was planning to attend the convention before learning that Trump would be there, but was most excited about seeing him.
“I was hoping that he’d make the announcement that he was running today, but oh, well,” she said. “I would vote for him if he runs.”
Adams, who also attended the event last year, said she was impressed with his speech.
“All of the issues that he talked about are the issues I care about,” she said. “And I think they’re the issues most people talk about.”
Trump was one of several people who often are mentioned as potential Republican presidential candidates who spoke during the three-day convention. Dr. Ben Carson and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz spoke on Sunday. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also spoke Monday.
The convention set record numbers, selling about 1,500 tickets, and was open to the general public for the first time this year. This is the convention’s fourth year.
Trump told reporters on board his private 757 airplane shortly before his keynote speech that he was honored to speak at the convention because he’s always supported the Tea Party.
“I think we have values that are very similar,” he said. “What they really are is great American people that love this country and they work. And that’s what I’m all about.”
He also said he thought he contributed to the convention selling out.
“Whenever I’ve gone to a Tea Party event, they’ve had a record turnout,” he said. “And again, this year they have sold out for the first time. ... Maybe I’ll give credit to somebody else, but you know where it all comes from. I mean, this is the biggest turnout they’ve ever had.”