Donald Trump Announces 2024 Presidential Bid From Mar-A-Lago

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would launch a third campaign for the White House to get an early start to the 2024 contest. The announcement comes just a week after a disappointing midterm record for Republicans and will force the party to decide whether to accept a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 sparked an uprising and marginalized American democracy of the abyss.

“To make America great and glorious again, tonight I announce my candidacy for President of the United States,” Trump said to several hundred supporters, club members and the assembled press in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a- Lago Club where he stood flanked by more than 30 American flags and banners with his slogan “Make America Great Again”. “I’m running because I believe the world hasn’t seen the true glory of what this nation can be.”

“We will put America first again,” he added.

Another campaign is a remarkable turn of events for any former president, let alone one who made history when he became the first to be impeached twice and whose term ended with his supporters violently storming the Capitol to mark the peaceful transfer of power on January 6 to stop, 2021.

Trump enters the race at a moment of political vulnerability. He was hoping to launch his campaign after resounding GOP midterm victories fueled by candidates he fielded during this year’s primary. Instead, many of those candidates lost, allowing Democrats to retain the Senate and leaving the GOP with only a path to a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

Far from being the party’s undisputed leader, Trump now faces criticism from some of his own allies who say it’s time for Republicans to look to the future, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis being cited as an early favorite for the White House emerges.

The former president is still popular with the GOP grassroots. But other Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, are increasingly making public moves towards campaigning of their own, raising the prospect of Trump having to steer a competitive GOP primary.

He is launching his candidacy amid a series of escalating criminal investigations, including several that could lead to indictments. These include examining dozens of documents with classified markings seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago, as well as ongoing state and federal investigations into its efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

But according to people close to him, Trump has been eager to return to politics and try to stem the rise of other potential challengers. Aides have spent the last few months preparing paperwork, identifying potential collaborators, and outlining a campaign modeled after his 2016 operation, as a small group of aides flit between rallies in his private jet, defied the odds and defeated far better-funded and more experienced rivals, tapping deep political fault lines and garnering relentless media attention with shocking statements.

Even after GOP losses, Trump remains the strongest force in his party. For years, he’s outplayed his Republican competitors by a wide margin in hypothetical head-to-head matches. And even out of office, he consistently draws thousands to his rallies and remains his party’s most prolific fundraiser, raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

But Trump is also a deeply polarizing figure. According to AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 94,000 voters, 54 percent of voters in last week’s midterm elections viewed him as very or somewhat unfavorable. And an October AP-NORC poll found that even Republicans have reservations about him remaining the party’s flag-bearer, with 43% saying they don’t want him running for president in 2024.

Trump’s candidacy raises profound questions about America’s democratic future. The last days of his presidency were marked by a desperate attempt to remain in power and undermined the centuries-old tradition of peaceful transfers. And in the two years since his defeat, Trump’s persistent — and unfounded — lies about widespread voter fraud have eroded trust in the nation’s political process. By the end of January 2021, about two-thirds of Republicans said they don’t believe President Joe Biden was legitimately elected in 2020, an AP-NORC poll found.

VoteCast showed about that many Republican voters continued to hold that belief in the midterm elections.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general said there was no credible evidence the 2020 election was rigged. The former president’s fraud allegations have also been flatly dismissed by numerous courts, including Trump-appointed judges.

But that didn’t stop hundreds of Midterm candidates from parroting his lies as they tried to win over his loyal base and get his coveted endorsement. In the end, many of these candidates lost their races in a sign that voters rejected such extreme rhetoric.

While some Republicans with presidential aspirations, like former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, have long ruled out running against Trump, others have said he would not consider their decisions, even ahead of his midterm losses.

They include Pence, who published a book on Tuesday, and Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who ran against Trump in 2016. Other potential candidates include Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Trump is also likely to be challenged by members of the party’s anti-Trump wing such as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House committee that probed Jan. 6.

But Trump is entering the race and faces enormous challenges beyond his party’s growing fears. The former president is the subject of numerous investigations, including the months-long scrutiny of the hundreds of documents with secret markings found in boxes in Mar-a-Lago.

Meanwhile, Trump faces a Justice Department probe over efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating what she says was “a multi-state coordinated plan by the Trump campaign” to affect the 2020 results.

And in New York, Attorney General Letitia has sued James Trump, alleging his eponymous company was involved in decades of fraudulent accounting by deceptive banks about the value of his assets. The Trump Organization is now on trial and facing charges of criminal tax evasion.

Some close to Trump believe that running will help protect him from possible indictment, but there is no law that would prevent the Justice Department from moving forward — or prevent Trump from continuing to run if he is indicted.

It was no secret what he had planned.

At a White House Christmas party in December 2020, Trump told guests it had been “an amazing four years.”

“We’re trying to do another four years,” he said. “Otherwise we’ll see each other in four years.”

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