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Now, Trump's endorsing Romney in Republican race

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Donald Trump speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at Trump Towers on 5th Avenue in New York, December 5, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Andrew Burton
Donald Trump speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at Trump Towers on 5th Avenue in New York, December 5, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Andrew Burton

(Reuters) - Businessman and reality TV personality Donald Trump is endorsing Mitt Romney in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination, sources said on Thursday, a day after U.S. media reported the real estate mogul would be endorsing Romney's rival Newt Gingrich.

Trump, himself an on-again/off-again candidate for president and former Republican, will announce his support for Romney on Thursday, a source close to the Romney campaign and a Republican familiar with the decision said.

CNN had initially reported Trump's backing for Romney. The cable network reported he would make his announcement on Thursday in Las Vegas, citing sources with knowledge of the endorsement.

Thursday's news was a direct contradiction to reports on Wednesday, citing sources close to Gingrich's campaign, that Trump would endorse the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Michael Cohen, Trump's political adviser, said he was not at liberty to reveal what Trump would say at his news conference. "It's only a guessing game because the press are making it a guessing game," he said.

Nevada's caucuses, the next contest in the state-by-state process of picking a Republican nominee to oppose Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 6 general election, take place on Saturday.

Romney has won two of the first four nominating contests, taking primaries in New Hampshire and Florida by healthy margins. Gingrich won South Carolina's primary, and former Senator Rick Santorum won Iowa's caucuses.

Trump last year flirted with a presidential run as a Republican. He was derided for pushing a discredited charge that Obama might not have been born in the United States.

He left the Republican Party in December after a presidential debate he had planned to host fell through and has recently hinted that he would mount a third-party White House run if his choice among the Republicans does not win the nomination.

(Additional reporting by Edith Honan in New York and Steve Holland in Washington, editing by Jackie Frank)

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