WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) – 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.”

In early 2014, Trump was honored by the New Jersey’s Somerset County Republican Organization with the group’s “Republican of the Year” award.

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.

Would you vote for him if he got on the ticket?

 (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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