Perry Johnson, one of five GOP gubernatorial candidates booted from the ballot because of signature issues, says he's considering a run for president in 2024 -- regardless if ex-President Donald Trump runs.
"In the country, I think things are going the wrong way," he told Deadline Detroit on Thursday, citing in particular the economy and inflation.
He said he expects to make up his mind sooner than later, but gave no specific time frame.
Johnson, 74, also said he's considering a run to be the chair of the Michigan Republican Party.
Johnson, a wealthy Bloomfield Hills businessman, who marketed himself during his abbreviated campaign as a "quality guru," says he agrees with most of Trump's policies, including those on trade and taxes.
He said there was a "big furor over the fact that he had this tariff. Everyone else has tariffs on us, so we had tariffs on China. They were chastising him for that, but did they change that when the Democrats got in? No, they didn't change that."
"We negotated a NAFTA agreement. Every single clause in there, it's over 500 pages, and I read it all. I didn't see one clause that was to our detriment."
Johnson founded Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc., in the early 1990s. He's authored books on international quality management standards, and is currently working on a book, though he declined to reveal the subject during the interview with Deadline Detroit.
He concedes that Trump would be a challenging opponent.
"I very much like Trump. I think he's one of the greatest campaigners in history. It's a question of letting people decide. We're going to give them an option."
"I think his biggest issue is, he's overly diplomatic," he says jokingly.
On Trump's claim of voting fraud, he says:
"All we know, when you have elections, you have fraud. And this election you saw that there were a lot of questionable things that went on. Let's face it, I'm a statistician. I'm not going to tell you something unless we have some kind of proof, and we don't have that yet."
Then he added: "I'm moving on."
He said one big difference between him and Trump is:
"I'd like to unite the party and unite the country. I think that would be the major idea that might differentiate (us)."