Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep himself in power, announced he is running again for president in 2024.
“I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump, 76, said flanked by massive American flags, at his Mar-a-Lago club and home in Palm Beach, Fla.
The announcement — and official filing — comes just a week after the 2022 midterm elections, which saw a lackluster performance from Trump-backed Republican candidates in key Senate races and competitive House elections. As a result, Democrats were able to retain control of the Senate.
“America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump said, claiming, “Your country is being destroyed before your eyes.”
The dark vision hearkened back to Trump’s inauguration speech of a country suffering “American carnage” and in need of him to fix it. Trump running sets up a potential rematch against President Joe Biden, who will turn 80 on Sunday and says he intends to run for reelection in 2024.
The 45th president announced his bid for a second term during a primetime event at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. He filed a statement of candidacy as well.
“In order to make America great and glorious again I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” he declared, to thunderous applause in the room.
It is an extraordinary — although long anticipated — move for Trump, one certain to reshape his party’s trajectory, raise complicated legal questions and alter the presidency for the man who defeated him, Joe Biden. He explicitly discussed his campaign as an effort to restore the presidency he had.
“There has never been anything like it, this great movement of ours… And perhaps there will never be anything like it again,” Trump declared. “America’s comeback starts right now.”
And yet, Republicans underachieved — and fingers are being pointed in Trump’s direction, even from within his own party.
Anger over the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in this country, buoyed Democrats in these elections. But voters also sent a message that they didn’t want extremes, rejecting Trump candidates up and down the ballot, who peddled his baseless election lies.
Republicans lost in competitive Senate races in purple states, like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Arizona and Nevada. Democrats could further expand their majority with a runoff election three weeks from now in Georgia, with yet another Trump endorsee, who has struggled mightily.
For the House, Republicans are on the precipice of control, but by a far smaller majority than they were hoping for, likely hampering their ability to pass legislation next year.
Of the 64 House race contests the Cook Political Report rated as toss ups or leaning toward one party or the other, Trump endorsed in 21. Only seven have won. It was even worse for Trump candidates in the most competitive races. Of the three dozen toss-up races, Trump backed nine candidates. Only one has won.
And yet, Trump is launching another run for president and falsely claiming his candidates did well, despite the evidence that his brand and his style of politics have proven radioactive in competitive states and districts for multiple election cycles in a row now.
For months, Trump and his team have been planning his announcement and sketching out a campaign operation. There will be no formal campaign manager for the upcoming run. Instead, two longtime Republican operatives, Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, will oversee operations. LaCivita will be leaving his firm, FP1 Strategies, to take on the new role.
Brian Jack, who served as White House political director for then-President Trump and currently runs Kevin McCarthy’s national political operation, is expected to also play a key role in the campaign and will focus on the nuts and bolts of presidential primary politics for Trump. In addition, Justin Caporale, a former top aide to first lady Melania Trump who also served on the Trump 2020 campaign, will have a senior managerial role. Two former Trump White House officials — Clayton Henson and Alex Latcham — will be in senior political roles on the campaign.
Many in the party have begun to openly question whether it’s a good idea to continue to hitch their wagon to the former president, especially with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waiting in the wings.
DeSantis easily won reelection as Florida’s governor last week. He’s a staunch conservative and landed in controversy for flying migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard and other liberal cities and enclaves, is widely seen as a more disciplined version of Trump.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, which turned on Trump during the Jan. 6 congressional committee hearings’ revelations, dubbed DeSantis “DeFuture” — and Trump “Trumpty Dumpty,” who “couldn’t build a wall” and “had a great fall.”
Republicans say those fixations are a liability with voters. And there are renewed fears about a Trump candidacy following the party’s poor showing in the 2022 midterm elections, when a number of candidates backed by the former president failed to win key state and federal offices.
Aides and advisors had tried to discourage Trump from announcing a presidential bid in hopes that he would do so after the Georgia Senate runoff elections in December. But he was unpersuaded by those pleas and used his announcement on Tuesday to tout his endorsement record, noting that Republicans were on track to gain control of the House of Representatives and to encourage his supporters to back Republican Herschel Walker in that runoff.
Historically, Trump is in rare company with his announcement of another run. Only one other president, Democrat Grover Cleveland, left the White House and ran for a second term four years later.