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August 27, 2015

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Donald Trump: U.S. leadership ‘weak, pathetic and incompetent’

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Steve Marcus

Donald Trump speaks to a group of Republican organizations at the Treasure Island Thursday, April 28, 2011.

Trump in Las Vegas

Donald Trump speaks to a group of Republican organizations at the Treasure Island Thursday, April 28, 2011. Trump said he is seriously weighing a presidential run and will make a decision soon. Launch slideshow »

Trump in Las Vegas

KSNV coverage of Donald Trump speech in Las Vegas, April 28, 2011.

With the “birther” issue over the president’s citizenship put to rest, Donald Trump used a speech Thursday night in Las Vegas to vent about America’s oil dependency, our relationship with the Middle East and dealings with China.

Trump, a potential Republican candidate for president in 2012, grew so passionate that he cursed repeatedly, uttering seven expletives during a 40-minute speech at Treasure Island.

The audience loved it. Some said they appreciated his honesty; others praised him for being unlike any other politician.

While Trump didn’t announce his intentions to run for office, he seemed to be moving closer to launching a presidential bid.

When a woman in the crowd shouted, “Run for president,” Trump responded, “Thank you, darling. I think I’m going to make you very happy.”

Later, he noted, “There’s a good chance I won’t win,” adding that a “blood-sucking politician who has been (fooling) the public for years” will beat him. Trump used a more colorful word than “fooling.”

He called the country’s elected officials “stupid people” and said America’s leadership is “weak, pathetic and incompetent.”

Trump focused much of his speech on foreign relations.

He blasted President Barack Obama and Congress for making bad deals with China then rewarding the country’s president with a state dinner.

“When people are screwing you, you don’t give them state dinners,” Trump said. He suggested McDonald’s instead.

As for Libya and Iraq, Trump said he’s not concerned about those countries unless America can profit from their oil. They should pay for the protections the United States offers, he said.

“When we have a war, we lose thousands of lives, we spend trillions of dollars and then we leave,” he said. “I say we go in and take their oil.”

Trump also lamented the fact that the thousands of televisions he bought for his hotel properties came from South Korea rather than the United States.

He launched into a tirade about the need for American manufacturing and said he would implement the “Trump Doctrine,” requiring goods be made in the United States.

While he touched on a wide range of issues, the first words out of Trump’s mouth were about Obama’s citizenship.

Trump took credit for forcing Obama to release an official long-form copy of his birth certificate. Trump had questioned the president’s citizenship with increasing frequency over the past few weeks.

“I accomplished something that nobody else had accomplished,” Trump said.

Trump also slammed Obama for snubbing Las Vegas in the past. “Thirteen percent unemployment and we have a president saying don’t go to Las Vegas,” he said.

Trump is testing the political waters in Nevada and other early voting states as he decides whether to seek the Republican nomination for president. (Even if he loses, he has said, he may run as an independent.)

He said he will announce his decision by June.

Trump landed second among the crowded field of Republican hopefuls in a recent poll of Nevada voters. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who won Nevada handily in 2008, beat Trump by 8 percentage points, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday.

National polls show varying levels of support for Trump. Some show him tied for first; others show him trailing in fourth.

While he is in town for his friend Steve Wynn’s wedding, it’s no coincidence Trump is campaigning in Nevada. The state is third in line on the GOP caucus calendar, making it an important get for presidential hopefuls.

Trump is only the latest in a string of potential presidential contenders to visit Nevada. Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Santorum all have made recent trips here.

On Wednesday, Trump stopped in New Hampshire, the first primary state, to attend a GOP fundraiser and meet with activists. (He noted he was in a helicopter on his way there when the Obama birth certificate news broke.)

He will appear in Iowa, the second early voting state, in June. And he headlined a Florida Tea Party rally last week, his first political appearance.

In Las Vegas, Trump called his successful career “peanuts” compared to saving the country.

“If I run and I win,” he said, “we will have a rich country again, a great country again, and what I almost like most, we’ll be respected again.”

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