PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov 15 (Reuters) – Donald Trump, who has been under constant attacks on the integrity of the U.S. vote since his 2020 election defeat, launched a bid to regain the presidency in 2024 on Tuesday, aiming to pre-empt the potential. Republican rivals.
Trump, who is seeking a potential rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden, spoke at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida a week after midterm elections where Republicans failed to win as many seats in Congress as they had hoped.
In a speech that lasted a little more than 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 a phone-waving audience that included family members, donors and former staffers.
Trump steered clear of the name-calling that has marked other public appearances, opting instead for a critique of Biden’s presidency and a critique of Trump’s own policy achievements during his tenure.
“Two years ago we were a great nation and soon we will be a great nation again,” he said.
Trump trotted out familiar dark themes from his playbook, denouncing immigrants — “We’re poisoned” — and portraying American cities as crime-ridden “blood cesspools.”
He said he would push for the death penalty for drug dealers and rehire military members fired for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Although he attacked the US electoral process, Trump did not use his speech to revive 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 certifying Biden’s victory.
On a trip to Indonesia, Biden said “not really” when asked if he had a reaction to Trump’s announcement. On Twitter, he posted a video criticizing Trump’s record in office.
Long Road There is a long road before the Republican nominee is formally chosen in the summer of 2024, with the first statewide contests more than a year away.
Trump’s announcement comes earlier than usual in a country known for protracted presidential campaigns and suggests his interest in discouraging other potential contenders, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or his own former vice president, Mike Pence, from making a bid for the Republican nomination. .
DeSantis won re-election as governor last week. Pence has tried to distance himself from Trump while promoting a new book. Other potential Republican presidential hopefuls include Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump took an active role in the midterms by recruiting and campaigning candidates who echoed his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud.
But many of his candidates lost in key battleground states, prompting some prominent Republicans to openly accuse him of promoting weaker candidates, derailing 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 razor-thin majority.
Trump is seeking his party’s nomination despite facing trouble on several fronts, including a criminal investigation into his handling of government documents related to his role in the January 6, 2021 attack, a congressional subpoena. Trump has called the investigations politically motivated and denied wrongdoing.
Trump, 76, is seeking to become the second US president in history to serve consecutively, after Grover Cleveland, whose second term ended in 1897. Biden, 79, said last week he intends to run for re-election. A final decision is likely to be taken early next year.
In an Edison Research exit poll, seven in 10 midterm voters said the deeply unpopular Biden should not run again. In the same poll, six in 10 respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
During his tumultuous 2017-2021 presidency, Trump defied democratic norms and promoted “America First” nationalism while presenting himself as a right-wing populist. He cut taxes and secured a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. He shunned US allies and praised authoritarian leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
He became the first US president to be impeached twice, although congressional Democrats failed to remove him from office.
At a rally before the Capitol attack, Trump urged supporters to march on Congress to “stop the theft,” but the mob that stormed the Capitol afterward failed to stop Biden from certifying his election victory.
Although courts and state election officials have rejected Trump’s false election claims, nearly two-thirds of Republican voters believe Biden’s victory was illegitimate, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Trump enjoys passionate support from many Americans, especially white men, Christian conservatives, rural residents, and people without a college education. Critics have accused Trump of pursuing policies built around “white grievance” 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 major donors, have grown weary of the drama surrounding him.
Ivanka Trump was not at the event, though her husband Jared Kushner was, along with his brothers Don Jr. and Eric. He stated: “I don’t plan to get involved in politics. I will always love and support my father, henceforth 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
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