- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2013

Donald Trump believes that only the “perfect” candidate can defeat presumed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 election — and that candidate could end up being Donald Trump.

“It’s not something I’m longing to do. It’s not something I want to do … but if somebody else is not going to do it right, I would certainly look at it very strongly,” Mr. Trump said of his presidential ambitions during an interview Monday morning on “Fox & Friends.” The real estate magnate flirted with a run in 2012 but ultimately decided against it. He believes it’s too early to make a decision about 2016, but he did say that fighting within the GOP needs to stop if the party hopes to recapture the White House.

He referred specifically to the recent flap between Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, which underscores the growing gulf between libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Mr. Paul and more moderate figures such as Mr. Christie, according to Mr. Trump.

Internal disputes with the party, if allowed to continue and grow deeper, could be the GOP’s undoing in 2016, Mr. Trump added.

“Unless they get together and things really happen for the better, the Republican Party — they’re going to have a hard time, probably against Hillary. They need the perfect candidate,” he said. “If Republicans are going to win, they’ve got to stop the division.”

Mrs. Clinton is widely expected to run for president in 2016, and many political analysts and pundits believe she’ll capture her party’s nomination.

Things look quite different on the Republican side, where a crowded field already is emerging.

While Mr. Trump has yet to decide whether he’ll jump in, he’s begun to send signals that a White House run is possible.

Last week, he made his first political visit to Iowa, home of the nation’s first presidential caucus, and addressed the Family Leadership Summit in Ames.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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