Trump to make Tea Party stop in Columbia

Columbia, SC (WACH, AP) - Billionaire businessman Donald Trump is scheduled to address Tea Party activists later this month in Columbia.

Trump, who is actively considering a presidential run, will be the keynote speaker at a Tea Party event at the Statehouse in Columbia on May 19. Trump made a surprise appearance at a Tea Party rally in Florida last month and is gaining popularity with the movement.

I am excited to hear Donald Trump speak, said Allen Olson, chairman of the Columbia Tea Party.

According to the Columbia Tea Party website, Trump is expected to talk about his thoughts on how to get the country moving again and the need for further tax reduction. The group does not endorse candidates, including Trump, and points out they simply want to "offer a platform."

Olsen said the business magnate will headline an awards event that will recognize Gov. Nikki Haley, legislators and conservative activists.

Haley previously said Trump had called her in March and was serious about a presidential bid. On Wednesday, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey told CNN that Haley will meet with Trump during his visit if he requests a meeting.

Last month a group called Draft Trump 2012 announced that Conway lawyer Scott Royce would lead the Trump efforts in South Carolina as he gauges support for a 2012 presidential bid.

Trump will not be at the GOP's first presidential debate in Greenville on Thursday.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former governors Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico; pizza magnate Herman Cain and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas are scheduled for that debate.

What do you think about the billionaire and reality-TV star making an appearance in South Carolina? Is Trump a legitimate presidential candidate?