On Tuesday, amid internal Republican Party strife, former President Donald Trump started his third run for the White House in the 2024 election from the chandelier-lit great ballroom at Mar-a-Lago.
Speaking to a crowd of roaring fans from a podium covered in American flags, Mr. Trump said, “In order to make America great and magnificent again, I am launching my campaign for president of the United States.”
He advocated for a concerted effort to rebuild America based on “issues, vision, and success.”
Mr. Trump told the crowd that he needs votes from “grandmas and grandpas and police officers and everything in between” to be re-elected.
I’m running for office because I don’t think Americans have seen us at our best. Mr. Trump added, “This will not be my campaign; this will be our campaign,” urging disenchanted Democrats to join his movement. To paraphrase, “We love both sides. We’re going to unite the world.”
Mr. Trump, 76, disregarded advice from former campaign staff and even some in his close circle to delay an early 2024 declaration until after a crucial Senate race in Georgia on December 6.
Mr. Trump framed his run for president as an opportunity to return the country on the winning track it was on before he left office and President Biden took over.
Mr. Trump boasted that the world was at peace, the economy was booming, and the United States was headed toward a “great future” because he had fulfilled the pledges he had made to the American people.
He said, “we have to get out of this ditch before we can return to success in the United States.”
He declared, “The country is in a bad state.” We’re in a lot of difficulty right now.
Mr. Trump has pledged to restore energy production in the United States, reduce inflation, and bring manufacturing and supply chains back to the country.
Trump backtracked on his promise to build a wall along the southern border and instead suggested an upgrade was necessary.
We will repair and fortify America’s borders, he declared. To paraphrase, “We constructed the wall, we completed the wall, and now we’ll add to it.”
When Mr. Trump criticized the Justice Department and the FBI, who launched a futile investigation into his claimed collaboration with Russia to win the 2016 election, he received the biggest ovation. The FBI conducted a raid of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate recently, saying it was essential to retrieve secret information that Mr. Trump had stored there. This was the FBI’s first such action against a former president.
Mr. Trump has pledged a “total and complete reform” to rid Washington, D.C., of its “festering corruption.”
He promised to propose a constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms that members of Congress can serve, and he also promised to take measures to restore voter confidence, such as making voter identification mandatory, allowing voters to cast ballots on the same day they are registered, and using “only paper ballot
Mr. Trump has advocated for a full count of the votes cast by election night.
He began his presidential run while several of his Republican colleagues were considering similar moves. Mike Pence, who served as his VP, and Mike Pompeo, who served as his secretary of state, are two such people. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of his most formidable Republican opponents, won reelection by a comfortable 20 percent margin.
After the election, a YouGov poll of 1,500 American adults showed Mr. DeSantis with a slim lead over Mr. Trump, including among Republicans. The identical poll conducted a month ago also showed Mr. Trump to be in the lead.
Mr. Trump took aim at Vice President Biden first, not any of his potential Republican competitors. He criticized the president’s approach to both international and domestic issues.
He blamed Mr. Biden for reducing energy output in the United States, making the country look weak abroad, and allowing unprecedented volumes of illegal immigration to pass through unchecked.
Mr. Trump claimed that in addition to all of those problems, Mr. Biden, 79, often dozes off during meetings.
“We are here tonight to announce that it does not have to be this way,” Mr. Trump, who is 76, added. We were a magnificent nation two years ago. And soon our nation will rise to its former glory.
Mr. Trump responded to claims that he was hurting his party’s chances in the midterm elections. Many endorsed Senate and gubernatorial candidates, as well as House candidates, suffered crushing defeats.
Mr. Trump said that only 22 of his 232 endorsements lost, and he blames voters’ inability to truly experience inflation, high gas prices, and other ills connected with Democratic leadership for the Republican Party’s loss of the Senate.
He projected a radical shift in the electoral landscape in the year 2024.
Mr. Trump hosted a swarm of reporters and photographers in a lavish ballroom at his resort and home. Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, which helped propel his unlikely 2016 victory, was broadcast on massive TV screens, and scores of network cameras were poised on risers in anticipation of his “special announcement.”
Some of Mr. Trump’s devoted followers congregated near his estate, just steps away from the intercoastal waterway, carrying giant posters and flags in his honor. To them, Mr. Trump’s announcement of his candidacy in 2024 was fantastic news.
Debbie Macchia, 58, of Boynton Beach, said, “Even though we think he’s still our president, he’s running again.”
If Mr. Trump makes his announcement, he will have a little advantage over a competitive field of Republican opponents.
Mr. Pence said he is thinking about running and will take part in a town hall-style event on CNN on Wednesday. He released his book, “So Help Me God,” on Tuesday, the same day as Mr. Trump’s big announcement. He has recently spoken out against his former employer, telling ABC News that he believes the election of 2024 will feature “better choices” than Mr. Trump.
Mr. Pompeo, like Mr. DeSantis, may decide to run for office. As a result of his historic reelection victory last week, Mr. DeSantis has being heralded as a future star of the Republican Party by conservative media.
President Trump’s attacks on rising Republicans like Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin have been roundly criticized by the media, even some of Trump’s most ardent supporters.
Mr. Trump’s support among Floridians who are also fans of Mr. DeSantis, 44, indicates that he could challenge the president for the Republican nomination. This month, Mr. Trump struck first, calling Mr. DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
If Mr. DeSantis runs for president, Ms. Macchia said she would have a difficult time deciding between him and another candidate.
Ms. Macchia remarked, “It’s a tough question.” The only thing to do is wait and see, I suppose. She advocated for Mr. DeSantis, calling him “the best governor the state has ever seen,” and urging Mr. Trump to pick him as his running mate.
Another bridge worker, 59-year-old Janet Thomson, expressed her desire for Mr. Trump to run with a woman, suggesting either Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in Arizona or conservative media star Candace Owens.
Ms. Thomson argued that Trump should appoint a woman to the vice presidency.
A motorboat, her decks draped with American and Trump flags, slid beneath the bridge and anchored in front of Mar-a-Lago. Opponents of Mr. Trump were also present. You lost again, Donald! #DeSantis 2024 read the banner trailed by a little yellow plane as it circled the estate.
In the wake of Mr. Trump’s campaign launch, polls have shown conflicting reactions from voters. Supporters of DeSantis are spreading polling data showing the Florida governor ahead of Mr. Trump in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire in 2024.
Trump is unlikely to be swayed by his critics. Most sham primaries have shown him with double-digit leads, sometimes even over Mr. DeSantis, while the other Republican candidates are barely registering with Republican voters.
The Justice Department is reportedly considering criminal charges against Mr. Trump in connection with his efforts to reverse Mr. Biden’s 2020 election victory, which could conflict with his announcement. Investigations into whether he improperly removed classified materials from the White House during his departure are also underway.H