In a speech that went on for an hour and sometimes got off track, a mostly quiet former president complained about Joe Biden, called himself a victim, and promised to get back into politics.
Donald Trump is running for president again, even though he lost the 2020 election and left the White House under the threat of impeachment for his role in the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill.
The 45th president said he wanted to run for a second term at a big event at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, during the evening rush hour. He also put in a statement of candidacy.
“To make America great and glorious again, I’m running for president of the United States tonight,” he said to a room full of thunderous applause.
It is an unusual move for Trump, but one that has been expected for a long time. It will change the direction of his party, bring up complicated legal questions, and change the presidency for the man who beat him, Joe Biden. He made it clear that his campaign was an attempt to get back the presidency he had lost.
“This great movement of ours is the first of its kind… And maybe nothing like it will ever happen again,” Trump said. “America is making a comeback right now.”
Trump and the former first lady walked into the ballroom of his private club together. Trump painted a rosy picture of his four years in office in front of hundreds of supporters, including Roger Stone, Kash Patel, Sebastian Gorka, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, and outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn.
Trump, in front of a mostly quiet crowd, brushed off the pandemic that sent the world economy into a tailspin and instead said that he had stopped foreign wars and made sure the economy was strong and growing.
“We were a great and glorious country when we were in charge,” Trump said. “But now, as a country, we are going downhill. We are a nation in trouble.”
He also said that Biden was to blame for gas prices that didn’t go down, a porous southern border that Trump called an “invasion” of people and drugs, and bloody streets that reminded him of his speeches about “American carnage.”
“Biden and the radical left nutjobs who are running this country into the ground are making America fall apart,” Trump said.
Before the speech, people who work for Trump told reporters that the goal was to give a more focused version of what the former president has been saying since he left office. Trump went off-script to criticize Biden by making fun of the fact that the current White House resident didn’t show up to a dinner with world leaders abroad. However, he spent most of his time comparing his time in office to the last two years.
But Trump also couldn’t help but criticize the federal government and the “deep state” for searching Mar-a-Lago. He called himself a “victim” many times and then talked about changes to voting that would only let paper ballots be used.
Trump and his team have been planning his announcement and making plans for how to run his campaign for months. For the next run, there will not be a formal campaign manager. Instead, operations will be run by Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, who has been working for the GOP for a long time. LaCivita will leave his current job at FP1 Strategies to take a new position.
Brian Jack, who was President Trump’s White House political director and now runs Kevin McCarthy’s national political operation, is also expected to play a key role in the campaign and will concentrate on the mechanics and bolts of Trump’s presidential primary politics.
Also, Justin Caporale, who used to be Melania Trump’s top assistant and worked on the Trump 2020 campaign, will have a senior management role. Clayton Henson and Alex Latcham, who worked for Trump in the White House, will have important political roles in the campaign.
Trump’s current spokesman, Taylor Budowich, won’t be part of the campaign. Instead, he will be in charge of the main pro-Trump super PAC, MAGA Inc. Tony Fabrizio, who has been polling for Trump for a long time, will do polling for the super PAC.
Trump’s campaign headquarters for the last two elections were in New York and Virginia, close to where he lived. This time, Trump and his team of advisors will work from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida until a decision is made about where an official campaign outpost will be.
During the midterms, Trump has mostly talked about the economy, the border, crime, and the Biden administration at rallies and other political events. But he kept talking about his own legal problems and the fact that he lost the 2020 election. He insisted without proof that there was widespread voter fraud.
Republicans argue that these obsessions are a liability to voters. And there are growing concerns about a Trump candidacy given the party’s poor showing in the 2022 midterm elections when a number of Trump-backed candidates failed to gain crucial state and federal posts.
Aides and advisors had tried to talk Trump out of running for president, hoping that he would wait until after the runoff elections for the Georgia Senate in December. But he didn’t listen to those pleas.
Instead, he made his announcement on Tuesday and used it to brag about how many Republicans he had backed, point out that Republicans were on track to take control of the House of Representatives, and urge his supporters to vote for Republican Herschel Walker in the runoff.
In the past, Trump is one of only a few people who have said they would run again. Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was the only other president to leave office and then run for a second term four years later.