"After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency," he said in a statement. "This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector."
Trump made the announcement as NBC, the network that runs his reality show, announced its fall lineup of shows. Prior to the announcement, NBC said it would bring back the show, "The Celebrity Apprentice," with a different host if Trump ran.
There had been widespread skepticism that the real estate mogul would run for president grounded in the fact that he has closely guarded information about his financial dealings in the past. Running for president would have meant that he would have needed to make significant financial disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.
Trump polled well in early polls of the GOP field, though his strength may have been more of a reflection of his name-recognition - and the wide-open nature of the contest for the nomination - than his presidential prospects. He is the second high-profile candidate - along with Mike Huckabee - to announce in recent days that he is not running.
In his statement, Trump thanked the "millions" who encouraged him to run and promised to "continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politicians' thoughts."
"My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country," he said. "I will continue to push our President and the country's policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness."