Donald Trump Ditches GOP, Registers as Independent

Donald Trump announced that he has changed his voter registration from Republican to Independent.

News broke this morning that Trump had changed his registration, fueling speculation that he is closer to announcing a run for the presidency. Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s spokesmen, told NBC News that Trump would consider entering the 2012 race “after the finale of ‘The Apprentice’ in May of 2012 if he is not satisfied with the Republican nominee for president.”

Trump, a long-time Republican, had told the press in April: “When the show [‘The Apprentice’] is over, I will then be free to announce. I think you will be surprised at a number of things, but I think you will be surprised at what my announcement is.”

Trump has met with several of the Republican candidates, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, and former candidate Herman Cain. Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul have declined invitations to meet with Trump, who was supposed to host a GOP debate tomorrow. Only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum had agreed to appear at the debate, leading Trump to cancel.

He cited a “conflict of interest within the Republican Party” as the reason for the debate’s cancellation, though many analysts stated it was due to lack of candidates. Trump once stated, “I am a Republican, and I would run as a Republican. And I have a lot of confidence in the Republican Party. I don’t have a lot of confidence in the president.”

Now, though, it appears that Trump’s confidence in the Republican Party is waning. He told Bloomberg, “In my mind, I have already decided. I am going to announce. But I can’t do anything until the show ends.”

According to reports, this is not the first time Trump has changed political affiliation; he registered as a Democrat in 2001 but returned to the Republican Party in 2009. He has heavily criticized the Republican Party, stating that he “is extremely disappointed with the manner in which the Republicans are handling many things, including the recent payroll tax issue.”