Trump launches the 2024 US presidential race, jumping on rivals
palm beach rivals.
Seeking a potential rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden, Trump made his announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida a week after midterm elections in which Republicans failed to win as many congressional seats as they had hoped.
In a speech that lasted just over an hour, Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters in a ballroom decorated with chandeliers and draped with American flags.
“To make America great again, tonight I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump told the phone-waving crowd, which included family members, donors and former employees.
Trump steered clear of the name-calling that has marked other public appearances, opting instead to criticize the Biden presidency and review what Trump said were the political achievements of his own time in office.
“Two years ago we were a great nation and soon we will be a great nation again,” he said.
Trump brought up familiar dark themes from his playbook, decrying migrants – “They’re poisoning us” – and portraying America’s cities as crime-ridden “cesspools of blood”.
He said he would push for the death penalty for drug dealers and reinstate military members who were fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Although he attacked America’s electoral process, Trump did not use his speech to revive his false claims of massive voter fraud in 2020 and did not mention the violent attempt by his supporters on January 6, 2021 to prevent Congress from confirming Biden’s victory.
On a trip to Indonesia, Biden said “not really” when asked if he had a reaction to Trump’s announcement. He posted a video on Twitter criticizing Trump’s record in office.
LONG ROAD There’s a long way to go before the Republican nominee is formally elected in the summer of 2024, with the first statewide contests more than a year away.
Trump’s announcement comes earlier than usual, even in a country known for protracted presidential campaigns, and signals his interest in discouraging other possible candidates such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or his former vice president, Mike Pence, from making a bid for the Republican Party nomination.
DeSantis was successfully re-elected governor last week. Pence tried to distance himself from Trump while promoting a new book. Other potential Republican candidates for president include Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump played an active role in the midterms, recruiting and promoting candidates who repeated his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him by widespread voter fraud.
But many of his candidates in key battleground states lost, prompting some prominent Republicans to openly blame him for promoting weak candidates who derailed the party’s hopes of taking control of the Senate.
Control of the House of Representatives remains up in the air, but Republicans are on track to win a most like a razor.
Trump will seek his party’s nomination even as he faces problems on several fronts, including a criminal investigation into his handling of government documents, congress subpoena regarding his role in the attack on January 6, 2021. Trump called the investigation politically motivated and denied wrongdoing.
Trump, 76, is seeking to become only the second US president in history to serve non-consecutive terms, after Grover Cleveland, whose second term ended in 1897. Biden, 79, said last week that he intends to run again and will likely make the final decision early next year.
In an Edison Research exit poll, seven in 10 midterm voters said they thought Biden, who remains deeply unpopular, should not run again. In the same poll, six in 10 respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
During his turbulent 2017-2021 presidency, Trump defied democratic norms and promoted “America First” nationalism while portraying himself as a right-wing populist. He cut taxes and secured a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. He has alienated American allies and praised authoritarian leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
He became the first American president to be impeached twice, although congressional Democrats failed to remove him from office.
At a rally preceding the attack on the Capitol, Trump called on supporters to march on Congress to “stop the theft,” but the mob that stormed the Capitol later failed to prevent Congress from confirming Biden’s election victory.
Although courts and state election officials have rejected Trump’s election fraud claims, about two-thirds of Republican voters believe Biden’s victory was illegitimate, according to Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Trump has drawn passionate support from many Americans, especially whites, Christian conservatives, rural residents, and people without a college education. Critics accuse Trump of pursuing policies built around “white people” in a nation with a growing non-white population.
The political landscape has changed dramatically since he won the presidency in 2016, and some in his party, including big donors, are exhausted by the drama surrounding him.
Ivanka Trump was not at the event, although her husband Jared Kushner was along with her brothers Don Jr. and Eric. She released a statement saying, “I have no plans to enter politics. While I will always love and support my father, in the future I will do so outside the political arena.”
Reporting by Steve Holland in Palm Beach, Florida and Andy Sullivan in Washington; Additional reporting by Gram Slattery in Washington: Editing by Will Dunham, Ross Colvin and Howard Goller
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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