Trump announces presidential candidacy for 2024

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Trump, who has faced questions about his influence in the Republican Party, on Tuesday announced his entry into the 2024 White House race.

Trump made the announcement during a much-anticipated event at Mar-a-Lago, his private estate and club in Palm Beach, Fla., just a week after a lackluster performance in the midterm elections denied Republicans the “red wave” they wanted long awaited and led to day-long finger-pointing within the party.

Flanked by a dozen American flags in a gilded ballroom, Trump delivered a rousing speech in which he boasted — and often exaggerated — about his record in the Oval Office and defended his party’s halftime performance by claiming that Republicans had “the… Congress Taken Over” and “Nancy Pelosi Fired,” the Democratic Speaker of the House.

Of other Republican failures during the tenure, Trump claimed that Americans “have not yet realized the full extent and severity of the pain our nation is going through.”

“We always knew this wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of our fight to save the American dream,” Trump said. “To make America great and glorious again, tonight I announce my candidacy for President of the United States.”

The former president spent months on Tuesday hinting that he could make a comeback bid after losing re-election to President Biden in 2020. Since then, Trump has continued to cling to his false claim that widespread voter fraud and systemic irregularities deprived him of a second term in the White House – allegations some in the party say have cost them crucial halftime races.

Even announcing his recent campaign on Tuesday, Trump hinted that China may have played “a very active role in the 2020 election.”

Trump’s fourth presidential campaign begins on Tuesday, but only the third in which he is running as a serious political figure. But he goes into the 2024 race in a very different position than when he made his first successful bid for the Oval Office in 2015.

He’s no longer just the businessman and reality TV star who wowed Republican voters with his bombastic and controversial promises to “build the wall” on the US southern border and “drain the swamp” in Washington.

For many Americans, Trump is a political pariah who sought to brush aside the peaceful transfer of power between presidential administrations to maintain his reputation as a winner in all facets of life.

Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss have put him at the center of a congressional probe and isolated him from the biggest social media platforms, including Twitter, the site that once helped him build his political profile.

He has also found himself at the center of a complex web of legal threats, ranging from investigations into his business to investigations into his role in the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol. In August, FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago, South Florida home as part of an investigation into classified documents kept there, an unprecedented move despite one Trump attempting to frame him as politically motivated.

He, too, goes into his election campaign weakened. Republicans had long expected a so-called “red wave” in 2022, believing resentment against President Biden and his party’s control of Congress would propel them into the majority.

Instead, the elections gave a clearly gloomy picture of the country. While Republicans are poised to capture a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, they have missed an opportunity to seize control of the Senate — a failure many Republicans have blamed on Trump and his repeated interference in the GOP primary.

Some advisors reportedly even urged Trump to delay his announcement until more time had passed after the midterms.

But to other Americans, he remains a visionary who sought to tear down an opaque federal bureaucracy and advocate for the best interests of the United States in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world.

And indeed, there are no signs that Trump could open a new chapter in his 2024 presidential bid. His announcement on Tuesday reflected the issues that have shaped his political career. He described America as in a weakened state under President Biden, railed against what he called runaway inflation and immigration, and claimed China had once again begun to exploit the US

He said his presidency ushered in a “golden age” in the US. Now, he said, America is “a nation in decline.”

“Under our leadership we were a great and glorious nation – something that has not been heard of for a long time,” he said. “Now we are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation. For millions of Americans, the past two years under Joe Biden have been a time of pain, hardship and despair.”

While not entirely unexpected, his entry into the 2024 presidential race comes at an unusual time.

With the midterm elections over, there are still three weeks to go until a Georgia Senate runoff, and some Republicans are concerned about the impact of a Trump nomination for the presidency on their campaign in the state.

And while Trump remains by and large the most popular figure in the modern GOP, the question is whether he’s the best standard-bearer for the political movement he launched seven years ago.

He remains unpopular with most voters. Exit polls for the 2022 midterm elections found Trump less popular than Biden, whose favorability rating has sunk deep under the water. A Politico/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday found that 65 percent of voters don’t believe Trump should make another bid for the White House.

Most early polls place him as the front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nod. However, there are signs other potential candidates could be catching up, notably Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a longtime Trump ally whom a growing number of Republicans see as top-notch election for the White House.

While DeSantis has downplayed the notion that he has presidential ambitions, he hasn’t ruled out a 2024 bid. His case for a presidential nomination was bolstered by the fact that he won a 19-point landslide victory at the midterms that sent him to a second term in government.

His growing profile among Republicans nationally may be one of the reasons Trump decided to enter the race so early, according to several party officials and strategists.

“The president wants to be ahead of the curve,” said a GOP donor, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the momentum of the burgeoning 2024 race. “I think he knows that every day he loses a little bit more relevance. The idea is: get out before someone else comes.”

Updated at 9:50 p.m Trump announces presidential candidacy for 2024

Dais Johnston

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