RENO, Nev. (CBSMiami/AP) — Real estate tycoon Donald Trump is making waves again in the Republican presidential race.
Late Wednesday, a source close to Newt Gingrich’s campaign says Trump intends to endorse Gingrich’s GOP presidential bid; ut, that report out of Las Vegas was far from correct.
Thursday, Trump announced his official endorsement of Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president in Nevada, where Romney is campaigning ahead of the state’s Republican caucuses on Saturday.
Trump announced Wednesday that he was to make news in the presidential race but did not say what it was.
The endorsement comes after Trump spent much of the early part of the campaign slamming Romney and his campaign.
“Mitt Romney is basically a small business guy,” Trump said earlier in the campaign. “He walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn’t create. He worked there, he didn’t create. He would buy companies, he’d close companies, he’d get rid of jobs.”
“He’s going to lose. He doesn’t resonate, you know? Or he would have won last time,” Trump said in a separate interview.
But that all changed in recent weeks.
“I never knew him. I knew of him and respected him, but I really got to know him over the past few months,” Trump said Thursday. “I’ve had numerous meetings with him.”
It’s the latest publicity stunt Trump has put together surrounding the presidential race.
Last year, the reality star flirted with jumping into the race but decided against it.
He also told CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Sunday’s live edition from Miami that he was considering running as a third party candidate because Republican infighting was hurting the party’s chances to beat President Obama in 2012.
Several potential candidates have met with “The Donald” during their campaign runs.
Asked about the possible endorsement Wednesday in Reno, Nev., Gingrich said he had “no idea what the Donald is going to do.”
The source was not authorized to speak for the campaign and spoke on condition of anonymity.
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