Former United States President, Donald Trump, has declared that he will vie for the US presidency in 2024.
Seeking a potential rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden, Trump made the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, a week after midterm elections in which Republicans failed to win as many seats in Congress as they had hoped.
In a speech lasting a little more than an hour and broadcast live on US television, Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters in a ballroom decorated with several chandeliers and lined with dozens of American flags.
“In order to make America great again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said to a cheering, phone-waving crowd, which included family members, donors, and former staffers on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, aides filed paperwork with the US Federal Election Commission setting up a committee called “Donald J. Trump for President 2024”.
Trump steered clear of the name-calling that has marked other public appearances, opting instead for a critique of Biden’s presidency and a review of what Trump said were the policy achievements of his own time in office.
“Two years ago we were a great nation and soon we will be a great nation again,” he said.
Trump laid out familiar dark themes from his playbook, denouncing migrants – “We’re being poisoned” – and portraying American cities as in the grip of a crime wave that has left them “cesspools of blood.”
He said he would push for the death penalty for drug dealers and term limits for lawmakers and rehire members of the military who had been dismissed for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Although he assailed the US election process, he did not use his speech to relive his false claims of massive voter fraud in 2020 and did not mention the Jan. 6, 2021 attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.
Trump predicted his campaign will be opposed by left-wing groups, the Washington establishment and the news media. “But we will not be intimidated. We will persevere. We will march forward into the torrent.”
During his turbulent 2017-2021 presidency, Trump defied democratic norms and promoted “America First” nationalism while presenting himself as a right-wing populist.
He became the first US president to be impeached twice, though congressional Democrats failed in their attempts to remove him from office.
At a rally that preceded the Capitol attack, Trump urged supporters to “fight like hell” and march on Congress to “stop the steal,” but the mob that subsequently stormed the Capitol failed to prevent Congress from formally certifying Biden’s election victory.
Even though court and state election officials rejected Trump’s false election claims, about two-thirds of Republican voters believe Biden’s victory was illegitimate, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.
Trump has elicited passionate support from many Americans, especially white men, Christian conservatives, rural residents and people without a college education.
Critics 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, are exhausted by the drama surrounding him.
His single term as president stands as one of the most contentious in US history.
He secured sweeping tax cuts, imposed curbs on immigration and orchestrated a rightward shift of the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court.
He alienated US allies abroad, abandoned international agreements on trade and climate change, and praised authoritarian leaders abroad, including Putin.
The Democratic-led House impeached him in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after he pressed Ukraine’s leader to investigate Biden and his son on unsubstantiated corruption accusations. The Senate acquitted him, thanks to Republican support.
The House impeached Trump again a week before he left office, this time for incitement of insurrection. He was acquitted by the Senate after he left office, again thanks to Republican senators.