By Ivan Pentchoukov
PALM BEACH, Fla.—Former President Donald Trump commenced his third campaign for the White House on Nov. 15.
Trump, 76, who had hinted at a 2024 run for more than a year, announced the presidential bid in a prime-time speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
“In order to make America great and glorious again I am tonight announcing my candidacy for President of the United States,” Trump said.
The former president stressed that this won’t be his campaign but “our campaign,” saying that the only force “strong enough to defeat the massive corruption we are up against is you—the American people.
“Together we will be taking on the most corrupt forces and entrenched interests imaginable. Our country is in a horrible state. We’re in great trouble.”
Facing a crowd of supporters and allies, the 45th president blamed the Biden administration and Democrats for high inflation, threat of war, and the open southern border.
He outlined a familiar vision for returning the nation to greatness, including stronger foreign policy, lowering taxes, and slashing regulations.
“America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump said. “Two years ago, when I left office, our nation stood ready for its golden age.
“We turned the page on decades of globalist sell-outs and one-sided trade deals, lifted millions out of poverty, and together we built the greatest economy in the history of the world.”
Trump touted his record with foreign adversaries, saying China, Russia, and North Korea were all in check two years ago.
“For the first time in memory China was reeling and back on its heels. You’d never seen that before, because the United States was outdoing them on every single front and China was paying billions and billions of dollars in taxes and tariffs.”
Trump said he believes the pressure he placed on China spurred the Chinese Communist Party to “play a very active role” in the 2020 election.
“We will launch an all-out campaign to eliminate America’s dependence from China,” the former president promised.
As expected, Trump took aim at President Joe Biden, blaming the “failing nation” on him and his administration.
“Joe Biden is the face of left-wing failure and Washington corruption,” he said. “For millions of Americans, the past two years under Joe Biden has been a time of pain, hardship, anxiety, and despair.”
Trump, the Republican Party’s de-facto leader, launched his campaign at a period of heightened uncertainty for Congress and the GOP. A full week after Election Day for the 2022 midterms, Republicans were still one seat from securing control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Control of the U.S. Senate was decided two days before Trump’s announcement, with Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Masto (D-Nev.) prevailing in Nevada against Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, who saw a sizable-election night lead evaporate after six days of vote counting. A day earlier in Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) was projected as the winner in the race against Republican challenger Blake Masters.
The delayed vote counts in the two states were reminiscent of 2020, when both states took several days to count the bulk of the ballots.
“We will do whatever it takes to bring back honesty, confidence, and trust in our elections,” Trump said. “To eliminate cheating I will immediately demand voter ID, same day voting, and only paper ballots.
“We will dismantle the deep state and restore government by the people. To further drain the swamp I will push for a constitutional amendment to propose term limits on members of congress. It’s time.”
If he returns to the Oval Office. Trump also promised to “defend the family as the center of American life,” as well as parents’ rights in public education.
“When I’m in the White House our schools will cease pushing critical race theory … and gender insanity. They do that, and they will lose all federal funding,” he said.
“We will not let men, as an example, participate in women’s sports.”
President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has said he plans to run for a second term; if he does, he’s unlikely to face a challenge from within his party.
Trump, on the other hand, is expected to face intraparty contesters in the primary elections. Rumors continue to circulate about the prospect of a primary challenge by newly reelected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump has already lobbed several preemptive attacks at DeSantis, calling him “an average REPUBLICAN governor with great Public Relations.”
In the run-up to Trump’s announcement, his former running mate and vice president, Mike Pence, said there are better options for the GOP ticket in 2024. Trump and Pence haven’t bridged the schism formed on Jan. 6, 2021, when Pence didn’t go along with Trump’s plan to push the results in some states back to the state legislatures amid concerns over the integrity of the election.
The challenges from within his own party aren’t the only twists expected for Trump’s new campaign. Since impaneling the Jan. 6 House committee, Democrats have orchestrated an elaborate narrative about the events of that day, framing Trump as an architect of an alleged conspiracy to delay the certification of the Electoral College vote. The president has defied a subpoena from the committee and faces the prospect of an indictment. Stephen Bannon, one of Trump’s biggest backers, was convicted of contempt of Congress for defying a similar subpoena.
A separate investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents since leaving the White House has led to a controversial raid of his private quarters at Mar-a-Lago and could result in prosecution. Both cases, should the Department of Justice take the extraordinary step to pursue prosecutions, could end up before the Supreme Court during the heat of the campaign season, adding legal drama to an already supercharged political theater.
Since Biden moved into the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, his administration has faced a number of crises, chief among them are the rising cost of food and gas. But when it came to the midterm elections, the daily reminders from the supermarket shelves and gas price displays at the pump weren’t enough to convince Americans to vote Republican.
As the prospect of a red wave receded, some senior Republicans laid the blame on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and several senators have asked to delay the chamber’s leadership election until the fate of the House is resolved. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) criticized McConnell’s midterm strategy to focus on the shortcomings of the Biden administration rather than run on a proactive agenda.
Trump joined the attack, faulting McConnell on Nov. 13 for not backing Masters in Arizona and letting Democrats pass their “Green New Deal” spending package. McConnell didn’t respond to the attacks. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) backed McConnell in a Sunday interview on CBS.
Laying blame on Trump for the GOP’s underperformance in the midterms, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Nov. 14 called on Republicans in the Senate to abandon the former president and work with the Democrats.
In the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the minority leader, was nominated by the GOP to take the speaker’s gavel as Republicans expect to gain at least one more seat, needed to secure control of the chamber. Senior GOP lawmakers have signaled that with a majority in the House, they would pursue an aggressive oversight and investigative agenda targeting the Biden administration and the business dealings of Biden’s family members.
Trump was forthright in his expectation that his presidential bid will be met with resistance.
“We will be resisted by the combined forces of the establishment, the media, the globalists, the Marxist radicals, the woke corporations, the weaponized power of the federal government, the colossal political machines, the tidal wave of dark money and the most dangerous domestic censorship system ever created by man,” he said.
“We will be attacked, we will be slandered, we will be persecuted … but we will not be intimidated, we will persevere, we will stand tall in the storm.
“From now until Election Day in 2024 … I will fight like no-one has ever fought before. We will defeat the radical left democrats that are trying to destroy our country from within, and likewise protect us all,” Trump said during his announcement.
“This is a movement, this is not for any one individual. This is a job for tens of millions of proud people working together.”
Trump announced his first run for president on June 16, 2015, from the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City. He defeated a crowded field in the Republican primaries and bested Hillary Clinton in the general election. The real estate mogul’s triumph over Clinton came as a shock to establishment media outlets, global elites, and the corporate world.
From its early days, Trump’s presidency was obstructed by a coordinated disinformation campaign that falsely accused him and his associates of colluding with Russia to steal the 2016 election. The hoax culminated in the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in May 2017.
Mueller’s extensive and wide-ranging investigation, promoted vigorously by establishment media, ended with no charges against Trump. While prosecutors charged several of Trump associates with process crimes—such as lying to the FBI—no one was indicted on charges of conspiring with the Kremlin.
Trump registered his reelection campaign shortly after taking office in January 2017 and officially announced his 2020 bid on June 18, 2019.