Donald Trump will not run for president, but he will return for NBC’s ”The Celebrity Apprentice.” (David Becker/GETTY IMAGES)

“I will not be running for president. See you for a great season,” “Celebrity Apprentice” star Donald Trump announced at NBC’s new-schedule presentation to advertisers at a Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan on Monday.

Trump, of course, has been much in the news lately, saying he was mulling a run at the White House. And he got a lot of traction jumping on the whole “birther” thing, adding his name to the list of those who wanted to see President Obama’s birth certificate.The Obama administration finally released the long-form birth certificate on April 27 and Trump held a news conference that same day, congratulating himself for having “accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish.”

Obama returned the favor a few days later at the White House Correspondents Dinner, praising Trump for his executive experience:

“You, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership,” Obama said. “And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meat Loaf [on ‘Celebrity Appprentice’.] You fired Gary Busey.

“These are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir,” Obama continued, as the ballroom – also a Hilton -- erupted in cathartic cheers, while Trump received the ribbing with a closed-mouth smirk, according to The Post’s coverage by Dan Zak.

“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election,” Trump said in a statement released Monday simultaneous to his announcement at NBC’s programming presentation.

“I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”

And, about that: Sunday afternoon, NBC suits had said they would bring back “Celebrity Apprentice” in the first quarter of 2012, with or without Trump in the board room firing C-listers. Monday’s announcement came as something of a surprise to attendees at NBC’s new-schedule dog-and-pony show -- buried as it was in the last 7 minutes of NBC’s presentation. And yet, the timing made perfect sense: NBC was there to convince advertisers to buy commercial time in next season’s primetime lineup – up front. And, a Donald Trump-less “Celebrity Apprentice” would surely have commanded a lower CPM (that’s Cost Per Thousand – as in sets of eyeballs) than a “Celebrity Apprentice” with Trump in the board room, whacking celebrities.

“I love ‘Celebrity Apprentice’,” Trump told advertisers, noting it has raised “10’s of millions for charity.”

Watch Trump’s announcement here: