Donald Trump Announces New Presidential Run
Despite his influence dropping within the Republican Party, the former president launched his reelection campaign with a speech in Florida.
November 16, 2022 at 7:45 pm
Former President Donald Trump formally announced Tuesday that he will seek the Republican nomination to run for president in 2024. Trump made the announcement in a speech delivered in Florida, where he has taken up residence since leaving the White House in January 2021. Trump has been hinting at this announcement for some time, and despite signs that his sway within the GOP is diminished, his candidacy presents a major shakeup for both parties ahead of the 2024 election.
Trump remains the head Republican in charge
Trump announced his new campaign during an evening event held at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday night. Telling his adoring crowd that “America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump formally declared that he is running for president in 2024.
The former president’s long speech included numerous shots at President Joe Biden, who defeated him in 2020. Trump’s address also included a suggestion that China somehow interfered in the 2020 election, an endorsement of Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate runoff race and a promise to “take” back the corridors of power in Washington — which could be interpreted as a veiled threat of a Jan. 6-style violent uprising if he does not win this time.
A quiet storm of Republican anger is growing against Trump
Except for a few dissenting voices, Republican politicians have fanatically supported Trump, treating him as a political prodigy who won the presidency with his first-ever campaign and then pushed through an ultra-conservative agenda as president. Republicans were largely willing to support Trump through two impeachments and countless scandals, outrageous statements, accusations of wrongdoing and even the Jan. 6 insurrection. But in recent months, Trump’s power within the party has started to diminish, with many Republicans quietly expressing their disapproval of his actions as his presence continues to wreak havoc for the party.
After the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to retrieve secret White House documents that Trump took with him as he left the White House, Republicans have largely been silent about the possible criminal case against the former president. Many Republicans have also distanced themselves from Trump and his lies about election fraud, and the candidates who received Trump’s backing and presented themselves as election deniers mostly lost in 2022. Some right-wing commentators are actively calling out Trump for hurting the party and urging him to step aside.
Defiant Republicans look to challenge Trump as shook ones remain quiet
Donald Trump once exercised near-total control over the Republican Party, having essentially taken over the GOP during his 2016 presidential run by bullying every rival candidate out of the race; comedian D.L. Hughley recently called the party a bunch of “cowards” for letting Trump dominate them.
Many potential Republican leaders remain fearful of Trump, unwilling to publicly challenge him or explicitly speak out against his election denial or other baggage. But even as Trump retains a mob of devoted followers among Republican voters, his influence is clearly not as deep as it was in 2016 and now, a few other Republicans have emerged as potential rivals to Trump for the GOP nomination. Most notably, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has pursued Trump-like extremist policies on social issues, easily won reelection this month, bolstering his case as a strong alternative to the former president.
Now, Trump is seemingly the one who is shaken at the idea of a rival challenging him for control of the party. The ex-president has already turned on his former ally, going from throwing subliminals at DeSantis to making full-on diss records. Trump has mocked the governor in recent speeches and interviews, and he is even threatening to release embarrassing information about DeSantis if the governor runs against him.
Survival of the fittest
Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping that Trump’s reemergence in the political sphere will hurt Republicans and boost Democrats in upcoming elections. The first test of this theory will likely be December’s Senate runoff in Georgia, pitting incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock against Trump-backed challenger Herschel Walker.
In 2021, Trump’s extremism was thought to have hurt Republicans in Georgia and helped to bring Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff to win that year’s runoff elections; Democrats are hoping Warnock is again boosted by Trump this time around. Furthermore, Trump’s many scandals and several outstanding criminal and civil cases give him a lot of baggage going into a new race.
In addition, a primary battle between Trump, DeSantis and perhaps other Republicans risks damaging the GOP before the eventual nominee even faces President Joe Biden in the general election. When asked about the possibility of a Trump vs. DeSantis primary battle, Biden said, “It will be fun watching them take on each other.”
It remains to be seen whether Trump will face significant opposition now that he has entered the race, or how his candidacy will influence voters in both parties. It’s also unclear if Trump’s announcement will impact the possibility of criminal charges being filed against him in several cases. But his return to the political ring will certainly add a new chapter to a political career that will no doubt go down in infamy as one of the most unusual, and potentially destructive, in American history.