Donald Trump announces 2024 presidential run
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump ended months of speculation and announced Tuesday he will run to retake the White House in 2024 in an early bid to clear the GOP primary field ahead of a potential rematch against Joe Biden.
“Ladies and gentleman, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens, America’s comeback starts now,” Trump, 76, told hundreds of cheering supporters in the ornate ballroom of his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Shortly before his remarks, the 45th president formally filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission confirming his candidacy.
Since Trump left office, polls have indicated the 45th president’s standing among Republicans has declined, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seen as another top contender for the nomination.
The former president’s address championed his own policies during his four years in office while attacking those of Biden, who says he also plans to run again in 2024, despite turning 80 on Nov. 20.
Guests at the event included a tranche of Trump administration alums, among them former White House budget director Russ Vought, former acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker and former White House adviser Seb Gorka.
Staffers who will work on Trump’s campaign also attended, among them Susie Wiles, a former DeSantis aide, senior communications adviser Steven Cheung and longtime Trump associate Boris Epshteyn. Former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller, the current CEO of fledgling social media network GETTR, also mingled with reporters.
If Trump wins in 2024, Vought told The Post, “from day one he will know how to put his hand in the glove and wield as much power within the federal government as possible and I think he will have a staff and an administration of like-minded individuals.”
“I think it’s going to be a scrappy campaign that has a lot of the feel of the 2016 campaign,” Vought added. “He has got fire in the belly. He’s got unfinished business.”
Whitaker told The Post that “there’s no reason to expect that he will be unopposed [for the Republican nomination], but at the same time I’m really excited … this is going to be one of those seasons to not miss.”
“I think the early Trump years were marked by maybe some staff that wasn’t up to the challenge and he kept trying to find the right people and put them in the right spots,” Whitaker said. “I think he finally hit his stride as he headed from ’19 to ’20. I think he’s going to have some great people identified and I think he’s going to be in a position from day one to drive the thing forward.”
At least one member of Congress, outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), was present — after one of the few expected lawmakers, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) gave the event a miss due to a scheduling conflict with House GOP leadership votes.
The event occurred as Trump takes blame for his intervention in the midterm elections — with critics saying his primary-campaign endorsements of candidates like Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate contest cost the GOP winnable races.
Trump entered the race as Republicans warm to DeSantis after the Florida governor won re-election last week by a nearly 20 percentage point margin.
The former president betrayed his own view of DeSantis at a Nov. 5 rally in Pennsylvania, where Trump dismissed his home state governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious” and later took a swipe at another potential rival, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin by saying his name sounded “Chinese.”
After Trump’s chosen candidates disappointed in last week’s midterms, he lashed out at DeSantis in a post on Truth Social Nov. 10, dismissing his would-be rival as an “average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations” before demanding he rule himself out of a 2024 run.
Trump may have reason to view DeSantis as a threat.
A series of snap post-midterm polls conducted on behalf of conservative non-profit Club For Growth found DeSantis held double-digit leads over Trump among like GOP primary voters in Florida, neighboring Georgia and the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
However, Trump and his fervent supporters are still a force to be reckoned with in Republican politics.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday showed 47% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents would support the former president in a hypothetical primary, while just 33% would back DeSantis.
Although Trump lost to Biden by more than 7 million votes nationally in 2020, the race was much tighter in the swing states that determined the Electoral College victor. If Trump had gained about 43,000 votes, the Electoral College would have been tied and the House of Representatives would have decided the outcome, with Republicans holding enough state delegations to reelect Trump.
Still, Trump, is kicking off his third straight presidential campaign amid the backdrop of a potential indictment by the Justice Department on charges of mishandling classified information after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida Aug. 8 and removed dozens of sensitive documents.
Trump is also being investigated in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, during which a wild mob of his supporters disrupted certification of Biden’s victory.
Meanwhile, a Georgia grand jury is holding hearings about whether the former president and his allies acted illegally in attempting to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss to Biden in the Peach State. Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s onetime personal lawyer, is among almost 20 people named as targets of that investigation.
If Trump wins the White House again in 2024, he will have pulled off one of the biggest political comebacks in US history after leaving office with the riot overshadowing his domestic and foreign policy accomplishments.
Trump was impeached just days before he left office for allegedly inciting the Capitol riot, notably with a speech to thousands of people on the Ellipse near the White House. The 45th president encouraged his audience to march on Congress because the election was being “stolen” — despite the fact that courts had rejected his claims of widespread fraud.
The mob proceeded to battle police and break into the Capitol building. The Senate acquitted Trump by a vote of 57-43, 10 votes short of the 2/3 required for conviction, meaning he remains eligible to hold office.
Trump was initially impeached in 2019 for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s reported $1 million per year job at Ukrainian gas firm Burisma while his vice-president father led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
The former president is expected to run on various well-worn boasts while slamming Biden’s management of the nation since taking office.
In 2017, Trump signed a major tax cut into law and in 2018 pushed through a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that reduced harsh federal sentences, including penalties authored by then-Sen. Biden in the 1990s that jailed some drug dealers for life without parole. He nominated three conservative Supreme Court justices, allowing for the court to end federal abortion rights last month.
On foreign policy, Trump’s administration brokered recognition of Israel by four Arab states and he defused tensions with nuclear-armed North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un with three meetings. He forced a rewrite of the NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico and rechristened the pact USMCA while waging a tariffs-driven trade war with China in a bid to force another major agreement.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated local government-ordered business closures caused an economic bust that wiped away Trump’s ability to claim record national prosperity.
Trump urged a reopening of US society in mid-2020 while pouring billions into vaccine development, but restrictions dragged on and a breakthrough was announced too late to benefit his campaign.
Pfizer announced six days after Election Day that its vaccine was more than 90% effective against COVID-19 infection — heralding a return toward normalcy.
Biden, who turns 80 this year, insists that he will seek re-election, but there are widespread doubts, including among fellow Democrats. He’s already the oldest-ever US president and would be 86 if he leaves office in 2029.
Biden’s average job approval rating sits at 42%, according to RealClearPolitics — and even lower among core Democratic-leaning groups such as young people and Hispanics — as record gas prices, the worst inflation since 1981 and rising violent crime and illegal immigration drag on his popularity.
Trump would be the second president elected to non-consecutive terms, after Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892. He would have to leave office in January 2029 because the Constitution doesn’t allow a president to be elected to three terms.
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