ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
In a speech designed to introduce himself to the conservative community, multimillionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, showed he isn’t worried about offending anybody -- not the Obama administration and not even one of the conservative movement’s most popular political figures.
“I like Ron Paul, I think he's a good guy but honestly he just has zero chance of getting elected,” Trump said to a chorus of loud boos from the crowd.
Paul has become a perennially popular figure at the annual CPAC conference in Washington where Trump spoke on Thursday. Last year Paul won CPAC’s presidential straw poll.
But Trump was undeterred by the mixed reception he received at the convention.
“If I run and if I win,” he said, “this country will be respected again. I can tell you that.”
He told the crowd that he would decide by June whether or not he would enter the Republican presidential primary. Trump said the Obama administration had badly bungled almost all aspects of policy – foreign and domestic.
“The United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world,” he said. “The world is treating us without respect -- they are not treating us properly.”
During his speech, which was added to the CPAC agenda at the last-minute, Trump hinted that the time may be right for him to run for president, arguing that he had had at least as much experience as President Obama.
“Our current president came out of nowhere,” Trump said.
He laid out his policy viewpoints in straightforward terms: “I’m pro-life. I’m against gun control, and I will fight to end Obamacare and replace it with something that makes sense for people in business and not bankrupt the country.”
Trump added, “If I decide to run, I will not be raising taxes.” He also pledged to help America re-gain a competitive advantage with China and other countries that he said “are screwing us.”
He said, “I’ve always been told that a person of great accomplishment or achievement cannot become a politicians or run for political office” saying that they most people who fall into that category – and he certainly seemed to be including himself – don’t want that kind of scrutiny.
“That is the kind of person that the country needs and we need it now,” Trump said. “This country is in serious trouble.”