Donald Trump is now backing Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. You saw that live here on CNN just a little while ago. He made the endorsement in Las Vegas and he's joining us now live right here in The Situation Room. Donald Trump , thanks very much for coming in. Absolutely, Wolf. I got to tell you. I was a little surprised that you endorsed Mitt Romney because over these several months, not everything you always said about him was positive. I'll play a clip of what you told our own Candy Crowley back in April. Mitt Romney is a basically small business guy if you really think about it. He was a hedge fund, he was a fund guy. He walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn't create. He worked there. He didn't create. He did create companies. He'd close companies. He'd get rid of jobs. [End Clip] All right, so what happened between April and now? Well, first of all, it is political talk and second of all, he has done a great job. And I've done a good job and I've created a big company and he's done a really good job and put a lot of people to work. I also had never met him until that point. I really didn't get to know him really until the last couple of months. And that was a long time prior to my getting to know him, but I have gotten to know him and he's a terrific guy. I don't know if he really comes out like he really is in person. He's a warm, smart, tough cookie and that's what this country needs. We need somebody that's tough, that's going to stop China and OPEC and all these other nations from just ripping us up. And I think he can do it. And this notion that when he was running Bain Capital and having all these firms that was a lot outsourcing going to China and other companies, that's not a big deal anymore? Well, he's really saved a lot of companies. You know, Bain Capital, these guys, they go out and they take over really in many cases troubled companies. And many of those companies went on to become great companies. So you can always have the exception to the rule, but he saved a lot of companies and created a lot of jobs as you know, Wolf. Are you now going to back up your words with a lot of money -- you're obviously a very rich guy. Are you going to start giving him lots of money or his Super PAC, if you will? Because you can give unlimited amounts of money to the pro-Romney Super PAC. Well, I'll do whatever is necessary. I think he's a terrific guy. I think he'll be a terrific president. I think he'll really lead this country in the right direction. We're going in the wrong direction right now. The chief of the CBO just came out as you know and he said that unemployment is going to be at 9.2 percent next year, which was shocking and that our growth had been reduced to 1 percent if we're lucky. So, you know, when I see what's going on with this country and then I see all of what's happening with OPEC and China and many other countries, how they're taking advantage of us, I will do whatever is necessary to get him elected. I ask the question because you're in Vegas. I'll be blunt. Are you going to be for Mitt Romney what the owner of the Venetian is for Newt Gingrich? Well, number one, Mitt has really been able to raise quite a bit of money, which is very impressive. So he doesn't need anything like that. And also I like Newt, you know, Newt is a friend of mind. I think Newt is a terrific guy in many, many ways and I do like him. But I don't think Mitt needs lots of money, but I'll certainly do whatever is necessary, however I can help. Whether they want me to make speeches, whether they want me to contribute, raise money, I'll do whatever I have to do. We need somebody great as a president. I think he'll be a great president. Ron Paul clearly disagrees with you. He issued a statement following your endorsement. He said this, Please explain to Republican voters in Nevada why they should consider the opinion of a billionaire from New York who endorsed the archenemy of all Republicans in Nevada and really the enemy of all Republicans in the United States. He's referring I guess to Harry Reid Well, I'm friendly with many Democrats and with many Republicans and frankly, with many independents and maybe that's what you need a little bit. Because frankly, the way you have gridlock in Washington is disgraceful. I have many friends that are Democrats. I have many friends that are Republicans. And, look, I appreciate what Ron Paul says, but the fact is I have lots of good relationships on both sides of the aisle and I think that's what you need today. Washington is total gridlock. A few weeks ago, correct me if I'm wrong, you registered as an independent in New York, no longer as a Republican because you wanted to leave open the option potentially of running for president after the season ends for The Apprentice. If he doesn't get the nomination, let's say Newt Gingrich gets the nomination, would you consider running? Well, then the options are always open. As you know, the laws prohibit me essentially from running during the course of The Apprentice. But on May 17th But I don't think that will happen. It was never my first choice and I told you a number of times I always wanted to endorse somebody and have that somebody go out, beat Obama and become a great president. Didn't make any difference to you that remember that debate you were going to moderate with News Max at the end of December. Newt Gingrich immediately accepted your invitation, Mitt Romney declined. Was that a factor at all? Well, when he declined, you have to understand and I told you this, he called me. He couldn't have been nicer and he really would have done it if I had asked him to do it. I understood why. He was leading. He was doing well. And I understood the reasons and I didn't put any -- I really put no arm twisting, no anything on. And he decided that if he had the option, he wouldn't do it and I said that's fine. He was very respectful, very nice, couldn't have been nicer and so was Newt. I mean, they were great. Did those guys, any of the four for that matter who are still left standing, did they actually lobby you and ask you to support them? Well, yes. And obviously Newt and Mitt were the ones that I was most interested in, but the answer is yes. Almost all of the candidates wanted my support because I represent not because I'm a nice person, I think I am, but not because I'm a nice person. People see that I understand what's going on in the world. They see that I have the ability not to allow people in this country to get ripped off. And pretty soon we won't be a great country. There are those who say we're not a great country right now. We owe more than $15 trillion. We're this debt. We borrow from China. In three or four years, China will be a greater economic power than us because of what's happening. So people realize I understand that and I carry a lot of votes because really simply people tired of being ripped off. And that's what's happening to this country. We're being ripped off. Did you give Newt Gingrich a call today to give him a heads up on your decision? I actually called him twice last night. I left a message. I hope it was the right number. I like him a lot. He's a friend of mine. I like him a lot. You know, you're a -- you know better than most, you're a controversial guy back in April, May, there was a poll that came out, a CNN/ORC poll, opinion of Donald Trump , favorable 31 percent, unfavorable 64 percent, 5 percent unsure. So here's the question. Is this going to help Mitt Romney your endorsement or hurt Mitt Romney? Well, I guess it's going to help because everybody wants it, but more importantly when I was thinking of running prior to leaving, if you look at Meet the Press I was leading in all the polls. A recent poll came out of which independent would you most like to see run and I was number one, easily number one in that one. So you can quote all the polls you want, but the polls that matter are those two polls. And most importantly, when I was running, I was number one the day before I left. Check out Meet the Press All right, well, my favorite show is The Situation Room, but that's another story. Let's talk about some controversial comments he made here on CNN yesterday. I'll play the clip. He told Soledad O'Brien this. It's caused some controversy as you well know. Listen to this. I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. [End Clip] We played that whole long exchange yesterday, but the wrap against him is that he doesn't necessarily connect with average folks out there. Do have a problem with what he said yesterday? Well, I think it was very unfair reporting actually because he said I have a safety net and I'll fix it if necessary. And I thought that was -- there are many people that don't understand what the press is talking about. I'm pretty good at English. I always did very nicely in English and if you let that sentence run on a little bit, as you did, some people don't let it run on, you actually did. There was something nothing -- it could have been said differently, I guess. Everything could be said differently, but he talked about a safety net and he talked about fixing it if he had to. It comes on the heels of some other comments when taken out of context that would be like a sort of a reel for the Democrats going into November, like to fire people who don't provide services, you like to fire people as we all know, as well, from time to time. Sure, but the firing was very unfair, too because if you let that sentence run on, he was talking about insurance companies. And I saw ads that were made. I think Obama's people made an ad and up a couple other people where they ended it after the word fire. And that was very unfair because if you let the sentence run on, he was talking about insurance companies. So I think it's very unfair reporting. The whole notion of what you're going to do now. You're waiting now just to wrap it up, you're waiting to hear from the Romney campaign, from Mitt Romney himself whether you're going to give speeches on his behalf, organize fundraisers on his behalf or just write big checks on his behalf. Is that what we can anticipate? Well, I don't know what to anticipate. I gave my endorsement to Mitt Romney. I'm very proud of that. I think he'll do a great job against Obama. If he debates the way he's been debating and if he campaigns the way he's been campaigning, I think he'll beat Obama. I actually think easily because Obama has been a terrible president. So I think he'll actually beat Obama and, you know, I'm very proud. As far as doing, I'll do whatever I have to do. If they want me to make a speech, I'll make a speech. I'll do whatever I have to do. Donald Trump , thanks very much for coming in. Thank you, Wolf.