NEW YORK, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Businessman Donald Trump changed his voter registration from Republican to Independent to keep his U.S. presidential options open, his special counsel said.
Trump, who has made a fortune in real estate development, changed his registration "to preserve his right to run as an independent after the finale of 'The Apprentice' in May, if he is not satisfied with whom the candidate is," Michael Cohen told The Hill Friday.
Cohen said Trump is particularly dissatisfied with how Republicans "are handling the payroll tax issue" and how the Obama administration "continues to allow China to take advantage of the trade agreement."
Trump has reached out to the online, independent presidential nominating organization Americans Elect, which is on several state ballots including California, ABC News said.
"Couple Donald Trump's name recognition with his extraordinary wealth and Americans Elect truly becomes a viable force in determining who the next president will be," Cohen told ABC. "One thing is for certain, Donald Trump is adamant that Barack Obama must be defeated in 2012 under any circumstances."
Trump was registered as a Republican in the 1980s and a Democrat from 2001 to 2009 when he returned to the GOP.
"Around the middle of May I'll be able to do whatever I want and I could run as an independent," Trump said in a Web video he recorded last week. "If the Republicans pick the wrong person I would, in fact, seriously consider running."