Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump barged his way into the 2016 US presidential election last night in a blitz of boasts, inflammatory comments and attacks on both fellow Republicans and President Barack Obama's administration.
Trump wallowed in political incorrectness as he insulted everyone from Mexican immigrants to Jeb Bush and US ally Saudi Arabia in announcing his bid for the Republican nomination.
"I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," Trump predicted in the atrium of Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.
The billionaire, widely seen as having almost no chance of winning the nomination, brings an outsized personality and a penchant for controversy to an unusually large group of Republicans vying for the presidency.
In highly provocative comments, Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to live in the US.
"They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing their problems," he said. "They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting."
Eleven other Republicans have announced they are running for next November's election, the latest being Jeb Bush who launched his candidacy on Monday.
Trump also said the United States under Obama needs him to come to the rescue. "Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day and we as a country are getting weaker," he added.
He also urged Saudi Arabia to be more appreciative of the military and diplomatic support it has received from the United States for decades and attacked China for "stealing US jobs".