- The former president of the United States announces his campaign for the White House amid legal investigations and a disappointing result for Republicans in the midterm elections.
Donald Trump has announced that he will run for president of the United States again in 2024 despite facing multiple criminal investigations and the poor performance of the candidates he endorsed in last week’s midterm elections.
Trump launched the bid, his third for president, Tuesday night at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, a week after elections in which Republicans failed to win as many congressional seats as they had hoped.
In a speech broadcast live on U.S. television, Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters in a ballroom decorated with several chandeliers and lined with dozens of American flags.
“To make America great again, tonight I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” the 76-year-old told the crowd of donors and longtime supporters.
“I’m running because I believe the world has not yet seen the true glory of what this nation can be,” he said.
“We will put America first again,” he added.
Earlier in the day, attendees filed documents with the U.S. Federal Election Commission establishing a committee called “Donald J Trump for President 2024.”
There is a long road ahead before the Republican presidential nominee is formally selected in the US summer of 2024, with the first statewide races more than a year away. Analysts believe Trump’s unusually early launch may well be aimed at fending off potential rivals for the party’s nomination in 2024, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 44, and Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, 63.
“He’s getting ahead of other Republicans,” said Adolfo Franco, a GOP strategist. “Being Donald Trump, I would frame any other candidate who launched a presidential candidacy from now on as disloyal to him as being the former president and, in a sense, the incumbent head of the party.”
But Trump, who was impeached twice during his last term as president, enters the race at a time of political vulnerability.
He hoped to launch his campaign in the wake of resounding midterm Republican victories, boosted by the candidates he promoted during this year’s primaries. Instead, many of those candidates lost, allowing Democrats to hold the Senate and leaving Republicans with a path to only a simple majority in the House of Representatives.
The defeats have led some prominent Republicans to openly blame Trump for promoting weak candidates they say derailed the party’s hopes of taking control of Congress.
Still, Trump remains a “formidable force,” Franco told Al Jazeera.
“The Republican Party, frankly, is loyal to him. And I think losing that base would hurt us in 2024. In many ways, today is Donald Trump’s lowest point. It’s only from here for Donald Trump.”
Trump’s attempt to seek his party’s nomination also comes amid a series of escalating criminal investigations, including several that could lead to indictments.
They include the investigation of dozens of classified trademark documents that were seized by the Mar-a-Lago FBI, and ongoing state and federal investigations into its efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
He also faces a congressional subpoena related to his role on January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
The former president’s term in the White House, between 2017 and 2021, was one of the most tumultuous in modern American history. In addition to unprecedented political trials, he deployed harsh rhetoric that critics say often veered toward explicit intolerance and deeply polarized the country.
Despite his popularity among Republicans, 54 percent of voters in last week’s midterm elections viewed him very or somewhat unfavorably, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 94,000 voters nationwide.
In late January 2021, about two-thirds of Republicans said they did not believe Biden would be legitimately elected in 2020, according to an AP-NORC poll. VoteCast showed that about as many Republican voters in the midterm elections continued to hold that belief.
Federal and state election officials, along with Trump’s attorney general, have said there is no credible evidence that the 2020 election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by numerous courts, including Trump-appointed judges.
Trump’s presidential bid paves the way for a possible rematch with Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election despite concerns from some in his party about his age and low approval ratings.
The two men were already the oldest presidential candidates when they fought in the 2020 campaign. Trump, who is 76, would be 82 by the end of his second term in 2029. Biden, who is about to turn 80, would be 86.
Richard Goostein, a Democratic Party strategist, said Democrats were divided over a new offer from Trump.
“I think a lot of Democrats would pray for Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee because he lost by three million votes in 2016,” Goodstein said, referring to how Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 but won the Electoral College. “Trump lost by seven million in 2020, there’s no telling how many he would lose by 2024,” Goostein said. “But the fear is that, if he were elected, unchecked by the prospect of having to face voters again, his authoritarian nature would not be controlled and that’s a terrifying proposition.”
If he ultimately succeeds, Trump would be only the second U.S. president in history to serve two nonconsecutive terms, after Grover Cleveland’s victories in 1884 and 1892.
For his part, Biden, who was attending a G20 summit in Indonesia, responded to Trump’s announcement of another candidacy by tweeting that the Republican leader had “failed” his country while in office.
The tweet was accompanied by a compilation of videos that said Trump presided over “rigging the economy for the rich,” “attacking health care,” “coddling extremists,” “attacking women’s rights” and “inciting a violent mob” to try to reverse his 2020 election loss to Biden.
Later, while participating in a mangrove planting ceremony with other G20 leaders, reporters asked Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron if they had reactions to Trump’s announcement.
The two looked at each other briefly before Biden said “not really,” while Macron remained silent.
Source: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
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