The Donald wants to make a comeback.
Despite a fairly disastrous result for the former US president at the ballot box during last week's midterm elections, Donald Trump stuck to his guns, making a much promised announcement on Tuesday night (local time).
Speaking at his Florida compound, the 76-year-old declared he wants back in the White House in 2024 – in a move that he hopes will preempt any Republican rivals as the party flirts with moving away from the MAGA leader.
In a speech broadcast live on US television, Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters in a ballroom decorated with several chandeliers and lined with dozens of American flags.
"Ladies and gentleman, America’s comeback starts right now," he said to a cheering phone-waving crowd of donors and supporters.
"In order to make America great again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States."
True to form, Trump didn't let facts or reality weigh down his soaring rhetoric and grandiose claims.
"Three years ago when I left office ... our nation was at the pinnacle of power and prestige. Striding into the future, confident and so strong," he declared.
"Everybody was thriving like never before."
While still more than a year away before the first state-level contests for presidential nominations are held, it sets up a potential second showdown with president Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in 2020, and today insists he plans on running again in 2024 despite his advanced age.
But first, Trump will need to clinch the Republican nomination in the face of a groundswell of support for Republican governor Ron DeSantis, behind whom the right-wing Murdoch owned media has begun to swing its considerable weight.
Earlier in the day, Trump aides filed paperwork with the US Federal Election Commission setting up a committee called "Donald J. Trump for President 2024."
BREAKING: Donald Trump files FEC paperwork to run for President of the United States in 2024 pic.twitter.com/U4lzs0nTg4
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) November 16, 2022
Trump's announcement comes earlier than usual even in a country known for protracted presidential campaigns and signals his interest in discouraging other possible contenders such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or his own former vice president Mike Pence from making a bid for the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination.
DeSantis handily won re-election as governor during the midterms. Pence, while promoting his new book, has sought to distance himself from Trump. Other potential Republican presidential hopefuls include Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump played an active role in the midterms, recruiting and promoting candidates who echoed his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.
But many of his candidates in key battleground states lost, prompting some prominent Republicans to openly blame him for promoting weak candidates who derailed the party's hopes of taking control of the Senate.
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