Donald Trump stands on the sidelines before the New York Jets-New England… (Bill Kostroun / Associated…)
Donald Trump plans to announce his support for GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney on Thursday, a source close to the Romney campaign confirms.
The real estate mogul and outsized media personality is set to make an official announcement of his endorsement Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas, at the Trump International Hotel & Tower, of course. The news comes after some outlets reported Wednesday that Trump would be endorsing Newt Gingrich.
Largely quiet since he abandoned plans to moderate a pre-Iowa caucuses debate, Trump is again stealing the media spotlight from the Republican presidential race in the brief three-day window between the Florida primary and Saturday's Nevada caucuses.
Trump very publicly flirted with a presidential run of his own before finally announcing in May -- just in time for the season finale of his reality show, "The Apprentice" -- that he would not seek the GOP nomination.
In the months that followed, almost all of the Republican candidates then went to Trump's New York office to kiss the ring.
More recently, Trump has since said that he would consider running for president as an independent candidate if the GOP did not nominate a candidate who could defeat President Obama. He even switched his voter registration in New York from Republican to unaffiliated.
His planned endorsement comes just weeks before the next season of "The Apprentice" debuts.
For Romney, the endorsement is something of a mixed blessing. He's struggled in recent weeks with the increasing scrutiny of his personal wealth and record as the head of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm. Just hours after winning the Florida primary, he drew fire for stating that he was "not concerned about the very poor."
And of course, there was a statement in New Hampshire that he liked to "fire people" -- a sentiment that was in the context of his discussion of health insurance, but Democrats and even some Republicans pounced on him as out of touch in times of economic distress.
Now he's going to gain the endorsement of the man whose reality show catch phrase is, "You're Fired!"
Robin Abcarian in Las Vegas contributed to this report.