Billionaire Donald Trump is telling friends he has decided he will definitely run for president as a Republican.

Trump will make the announcement when his NBC show “The Apprentice” finishes the season in the spring, he is confiding. He has been soliciting recommendations on political advisers, focusing initially on the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. Trump declined to comment.

In October, Trump said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he was thinking about the possibility of running. In an interview from Scotland, where he has been building a golf course, Trump expanded on his comments to Newsmax, saying that “the world is laughing at us” and the United States is now “a punching bag for the world.”

It is “sad what’s happened to the country,” Trump said. “We’re no longer a respected nation, and we should be the most respected.”

According to a Newsmax/SurveyUSA poll conducted Nov. 3 and 4, in a head-to-head race between President Obama and Trump, the entrepreneur would get 47 percent of the vote, versus 53 percent for Obama.

Trump polled strongly among Republicans and conservatives. He got 50 percent of the votes of independents.

Understandably, many are skeptical that Trump would actually run. He has toyed with the idea before and is now at the pinnacle of his real estate career.

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