Move over, Donald Trump: A new presidential candidate is pledging to "make America healthy again."
Muscle Maker Grill founder and New Jersey resident Rod Silva has entered the presidential race as an independent candidate. Health is an issue that's near and dear to Silva, whose father died of a heart attack at 62. Silva has long advocated for nutrition; he opened Muscle Maker Grill in Colonia, New Jersey, in 1995 as a healthy alternative to fast food. There are now 60 locations nationwide and another 200 in development.
Silva told amNewYork that too many Americans are sick, and he warned that poor health will bankrupt the country.
"I think the American people need to take their country back, and the way we take our country back is by making America healthy again," he said.
Silva is urging Americans to start talking about obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Health, he said, is the most important issue -- all other issues are secondary.
Silva speculated that a majority of out-of-work Americans are likely sick, and he said that boosting the nation's overall health would reduce unemployment.
"If you get America healthy, you put 'em back to work," he said.
Silva warned that health care will "collapse this nation" if Americans don’t get in shape. He said that health care should focus more strongly on preventive measures, which would eventually allow insurance to become more affordable.
The independent candidate said he wants to work with the private sector to improve the nation's overall health, and he said he's willing to work with any party to get the job done.
"I'm a pest, so if I pester enough people, they have to hear it," he said.
The political newcomer believes he has a good shot at the presidency despite an already crowded field of candidates.
"I'm serious as a heart attack that we can win," he said.