WASHINGTON - Businessman and reality TV personality Donald Trump has left the US Republican Party, changing his voter registration to independent in his home state of New York, in a move that could facilitate a potential third-party presidential run in 2012, US media reported on Friday.
The move was disclosed 10 days after the real estate mogul announced he would not moderate a planned debate among 2012 Republican presidential candidates in order to protect a possible White House run as an independent. All but two candidates declined to participate in Trump's planned Dec. 27 forum in Iowa.
"Mr. Trump has said for almost a year that if he is not satisfied with who the Republican candidate is, he may elect to run as an independent," Trump spokesman Michael Cohen said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "This change in party affiliation certainly preserves his right to do so, after the finale of 'The Apprentice' in May."