The 64-year-old, thrice-wed tycoon is a larger-than-life figure in the United States Golden Goose Sneakers Sale whose company operates a string of resorts and casinos.
Trump has nurtured his celebrity status in recent years by hosting popular reality show The Apprentice, as well as The Fabulous World Of Golf on cable.
Trump told MSNBC "I'd love not to do it" - meaning run for president - but that the country has so many problems, such as the erosion of the manufacturing base to foreign competitors.
"The United States doesn't really make things anymore," he said.
The Republican Party is looking at a dozen or so potential candidates for the right to challenge Democratic president Barack Obama in 2012, such as Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
Trump did not rule out the possibility of running under the banner of the Tea Party - the conservative movement that so far is seen as a sub-group of the Republican Party, but which some experts think could emerge as a third party.
"I am a Republican but have great respect for what the Tea Party has done because they have brought to light what's going on," Trump said.
"We have trillion-dollar deficits ... The country is going bankrupt, let's face it."
Yesterday New York fixture the Naked Cowboy confirmed he would be joining the 2012 presidential race.