PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov 15 (Reuters) – Donald Trump, who has launched a relentless assault on the integrity of the U.S. voting since his 2020 election defeat, launched a bid to regain the presidency in 2024 on Tuesday , designed to get a head start on Republican opponents.
Trump, seeking a potential rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden, made the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida a week after midterm elections in which Republicans failed to win their hopes seats in Congress.
In a speech broadcast live on US television, Trump addressed hundreds of supporters in a ballroom decorated with chandeliers and lined with dozens of American flags.
“To make America great again, I am announcing tonight my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump told cheering phone-waving donors and longtime supporters.
Earlier in the day, aides filed documents with the Federal Election Commission, which has formed a committee called “Donald Trump’s 2024 Presidential Campaign.”
There is still a long way to go before the formal selection of a Republican nominee in the summer of 2024, with the first state-level race still more than a year away.
Even in a country known for its protracted presidential campaign, Trump’s announcement came earlier than usual, suggesting he is intent on blocking other possible candidates such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or his own former Vice President Mike Pence. Contenders for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
DeSantis easily re-elected governor in the midterm elections. Pence tried to distance himself from Trump as he promoted his new book. Other potential Republican presidential candidates include Virginia Gov. Glenn Yonkin, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump played an active role in the midterm elections, recruiting and promoting candidates that echo his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread vote-rigging.
But many of his candidates in key battleground states have failed, prompting some prominent Republicans to publicly accuse him of promoting weak candidates who have undermined the party’s hopes of taking control of the Senate.
Control of the House of Representatives is still up in the air, but Republicans are expected to win a narrow majority.
Trump will seek his party’s nomination even as he faces trouble on several fronts, including a criminal investigation into his possession of government documents obtained when he left office and ties to his role in the Jan. 10 election Congressional subpoena. On January 6, 2021, his supporters attacked the US Capitol. Trump has called the various investigations he faces politically motivated and has denied wrongdoing.
Trump, 76, is seeking to become the second non-consecutive U.S. president after Grover Cleveland, whose second term ended in 1897. Biden, 79, said last week that he intends to run for re-election and will likely make a final decision early next year.
Seven in 10 midterm voters in an Edison Research Center exit poll said Biden, who remains deeply unpopular, should not run again. In the same poll, six in 10 respondents said they had a negative view of Trump.
During his tumultuous 2017-2021 presidency, Trump flouted democratic norms and promoted “America First” nationalism while casting himself as a right-wing populist. He became the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, even though congressional Democrats failed to remove him from office.
At a rally before the Capitol attack, Trump urged supporters to “fight like hell” and marched on Congress to “stop the stealing,” but the mob that then stormed the Capitol failed to prevent Congress from officially certifying Biden’s election victory.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, about two-thirds of Republican voters believe Biden’s victory was illegitimate, despite courts and state election officials dismissing Trump’s electoral sham claims.
Trump has won the enthusiastic support of many Americans, especially white men, Christian conservatives, rural residents and those without a college education. Critics have accused Trump of pursuing policies built around “white grievances” in a country with a growing nonwhite population.
The political landscape has changed dramatically since he won the presidency in 2016, and some in the party, including major donors, are exhausted by the drama surrounding him.
His single term as president was one of the most contentious in American history. He secured sweeping tax cuts, imposed restrictions on immigration and engineered a rightward shift of the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court. He has alienated U.S. allies abroad, abandoned international agreements on trade and climate change and praised authoritarian leaders abroad, including Putin.
In 2019, the Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after he urged Ukraine’s leader to open an investigation into unsubstantiated corruption allegations against Biden and his son. The Senate acquitted him thanks to Republican support.
The House of Representatives impeached Trump again a week before he leaves office, this time for inciting insurrection. He was acquitted by the Senate after leaving office, thanks again to Republican senators.
Reporting by Steve Holland in Palm Beach, Florida and Andy Sullivan in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham, Ross Colvin and Howard Goler
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