American businessman Donald Trump leaves the stage after addressing the American Conservative Union's 42nd Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 27, 2015.
Photo by Pete Marovich/EPA

Trump moving from sideshow to actual candidate

Updated

Birther ringleader and “Celebrity Apprentice” host Donald Trump just threw his hat in the 2016 pool. 

NOW With Alex Wagner, 3/18/15, 4:26 PM ET

Who’s riding shotgun in the GOP ‘clown car’?

Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and other possible Republican fringe candidates are priming themselves for 2016.
Trump launched an exploratory committee to weigh a 2016 run on Wednesday, indicating that his political aspirations are more serious than ever before. ”I am the only one who can make America truly great again!” he said in a statement. 

Exploratory committees are typically the first step for candidates who want to raise money without the constraints of being an official candidate. This is Trump’s second exploratory committee; he launched one in 1999, but never actually entered the race George W. Bush would eventually win. 

But Trump advisor Michael Cohen told msnbc in an email that Trump’s “level of commitment to changing the issues plaguing our nation, both domestic and abroad, has never been greater.”

RELATED: Trump talks Iowa, Palin and GOP field

In a flowery statement with many exclamation marks, Trump gave a litany of vague policy goals and touting his business prowess. “I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble,” Trump said in a statement. “We have lost the respect of the entire world. Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians – who are all talk and no action! I have built a great company, created thousands of jobs and built a tremendous net worth with some of the finest and most prestigious assets in the world — and very little debt!”

The real estate mogul is worth $4.1 billion, according to Forbes; over the years, he’s transformed his big business success and bombastic personality into a television and media sensation with shows like Celebrity Apprentice on NBC News. His notoriety peaked in 2012, when he fought to have the president release his birth certificate over allegations that he wasn’t born in the country and legally able to be president – the authenticity of which Trump still disputes

“All Americans deserve the same opportunity. Our real unemployment rate is staggering while our manufacturing base is eroding on a daily basis. We must rebuild our infrastructure, control our borders, support local control of education, greatly strengthen our military, care for our veterans and put Americans back to work! We must stop other countries from totally taking advantage of our representatives who are being out-negotiated at every turn.”

3/2/15, 2:50 PM ET

Donald Trump for president–again?

Fresh off his speech at CPAC, where he placed eighth in a straw poll for presidential nominations, Donald Trump shares his opinion of what is wrong in America today, and what our elected leaders should do to fix these issues.
If Trump does run, he’s got a steep incline ahead of him: a poll from earlier this month found that whopping 74% of Republican primary voters couldn’t see themselves supporting him in 2016. 

Democrats were tickled at Trump’s move into the political sphere; the Democratic National Committee said in an email they “anxiously awaited” Trump’s views on the president’s birth certificate and immigration reform (which they note he called a “suicide mission” for Republicans two years ago) on the RNC stage.

“Everything is awesome,” they wrote in an email linking to the “LEGO Movie” song of the same name.

Donald Trump

Trump moving from sideshow to actual candidate

Updated