Real estate mogul Donald Trump said Tuesday he expects Texas Gov. Rick Perry to do "very nicely" as a presidential candidate. But Trump stopped short of endorsing Perry and said he hasn't ruled out running for president himself as an independent.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump said Perry was a welcome entry in the GOP field that includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
"I think Rick Perry is a real positive. Nobody can predict outcomes, but I think he will do very nicely," Trump said. "We need someone in this country who is willing to shake things up."
Trump also defended Perry's suggestion Monday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing a "treasonous" act if he pumped more money into the economy.
"It was a meaningless phrase, it was just rhetorical. He's very emotional about how the country is doing," Trump said of Perry, pushing back on President George W. Bush's former political director Karl Rove and other Republicans who have criticized Perry's comment.
"Karl Rove is an empty hat," Trump said. "We ended up with Obama because of Karl Rove and George W. Bush."