BOCA RATON, Fla. - BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) -- Sounding increasingly like a candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly told a raucous tea party crowd Saturday he has the qualities needed in the White House and the conservative ideals necessary to seal the Republican nomination should he decide to run.
Trump struck familiar themes and talked about his own business acumen in his speech to hundreds gathered at a park here, where his name festooned signs, buttons and T-shirts of supporters. The real estate mogul even talked about the type of people he'd have serve as diplomats and said he was looking forward to releasing his financial disclosures.
"Most very successful people, the kind of people that we need running our country, don't want to be scrutinized and abused," he said. "This is the kind of person that this country must have right now."
He derided President Barack Obama, calling him the worst to occupy the White House in history. He again questioned whether the president was born in the U.S., even though the fact has been affirmed by officials in Hawaii, where Obama was born. And he maligned China, saying the U.S. should take control of Iraqi oil and described American infrastructure as third world.
Trump ticked through a number of issues seen as bedrocks for conservative candidates, saying he is anti-abortion, against gun control and wants to repeal Obama's health care law. Throughout the speech, he portrayed the U.S. as a nation in decline and himself as its potential savior.
"Considering the shape the United States is in right now, we need a competitor and a highly competent person to deal with what's going on," he said. Later, he added: "If I run and win, our country will be respected again."
The speech garnered wide applause and chants of "Run, Donald, Run!" One audience member, Gina Coniglio of Fort Lauderdale, said she left the event as a Trump supporter.
"I wasn't sure what to think of him when I came here," the 46-year-old teacher said. "I'm sure now."
Trump has said he will announce his intentions before June.
The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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