Former President Donald Trump has officially announced his candidacy for president in 2024, his third attempt.
Trump made the announcement Tuesday night from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, saying, “We are a nation in decline” and “America’s comeback begins right now.”
The announcement, which Trump had been teasing for months, comes as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil investigations, and his party is dealing with a worse-than-expected showing in the midterm elections, raising questions about Trump’s power over the GOP.
In his hour-long speech, the former president referred to his administration’s accomplishments as a “golden age,” claiming that “our country was on track for an amazing future, because I made big promises to the American people — and unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”
In contrast, Trump stated, “The past two years under Joe Biden have been a time of pain, hardship, anxiety, and despair for millions of Americans.”
Trump, who lost his reelection bid in 2020 but did not concede and has continued to spread false claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen,” has repeatedly hinted at another run for the White House over the last year and told a rally crowd last week that a “big announcement” was on the way.
Trump’s third presidential run comes at an unprecedented point in American history, with a former one-term president who never conceded his election loss entering a bid for re-election as the frontrunner for his party’s nomination.
Trump’s election deceptions culminated on Jan. 6, 2021, with a violent attack on the United States Capitol carried out by pro-Trump supporters, for which nearly 1,000 people have now been charged criminally. The former president has repeatedly downplayed the riot and vowed to pardon those charged in the attack if he is re-elected.
The Jan. 6 probe, the investigation into Trump’s handling of documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago, and an investigation into his fledgling social media company, Truth Social, are all ongoing federal investigations.
According to some aides, the former president believes that declaring his candidacy will protect him from the investigations; however, many legal experts believe that a run will not result in any special protections for the former president.
Furthermore, Trump’s namesake family real estate business, The Trump Organization, is currently on trial in New York for tax evasion and fraud – charges that would be unaffected if he were re-elected president. The corporation has denied any wrongdoing.
Trump, who was impeached twice during his four years in office but was never convicted, retains a firm grip on his Republican base. According to an earlier this year ABC News/Washington Post poll, six in ten Republicans support the former president as their party’s leader.
Trump’s Super PAC poured millions into key races in the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections, and the former president wielded political power by endorsing hand-picked candidates for major congressional seats, including Senate candidates Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia. In the final weeks of the campaign, the former president increased his already hectic rally schedule, holding multiple events over the weekend leading up to Election Day.
However, after at least 30 of Trump’s endorsed candidates, including Oz, lost their races, some have begun to question Trump’s ability to win elections for the party in the future.
Trump has already targeted some potential presidential primary opponents, including potential 2024 rival Ron DeSantis, who was re-elected governor of Florida on Tuesday. Trump attacked DeSantis as an “average” governor in a statement released last week, claiming that DeSantis was “politically dead” until Trump endorsed him in 2018 and lamenting DeSantis’ refusal to say whether he will run for president in 2024.
Sources close to Trump say he has soured on DeSantis as the Florida governor’s political star has risen and as some in the party have expressed that they would prefer DeSantis to run for president instead of him.