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Trump launches third presidential bid amid questions about party's future

(Photo: CNN Newsource/Pool)
(Photo: CNN Newsource/Pool)
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Former President Donald Trump will run for president for the third consecutive cycle in what could be a rematch of the 2020 election should President Joe Biden decide to seek a second term.

"In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump said in a speech at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

In a lengthy speech in front of supporters, Trump spoke about several familiar topics from his first two campaigns and time in office like illegal immigration and his signature border wall, warnings of violence he said has been brought on under Biden and having the "greatest economy" in American history. In addition to touting his record, Trump said the Biden administration had failed the country in dealing with some of its biggest issues like inflation, high gasoline prices and dealing with foreign adversaries.

"Under Biden and the radical Democrats, America has been mocked, derided and brought to its knees, perhaps like never before. But we are here tonight to declare that it does not have to be this way does not have to be this way," Trump said.

Trump’s announcement comes after midterm elections that yielded disappointing results for his party. Republicans failed to flip a single Senate seat and lost one being vacated by Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey. The GOP is expected to win the House once the remaining outstanding races are called, though by a tight margin.

Some of his advisers and other Republicans had pushed the former president to delay his announcement until after the runoff Senate election in Georgia due to concerns that his candidacy could hurt Republican nominee Herschel Walker in his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Trump is also facing a series of legal troubles, most notably an investigation by the Justice Department over his handling of classified documents. He is also fighting a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, facing a lawsuit from New York's attorney general over alleged fraud and a criminal investigation for alleged election interference after the 2020 election in Fulton County, Georgia.

The fallout from the deadly Jan. 6 riot led to his impeachment by the House before he was later acquitted by the Senate due to a lack of enough Republican support. Trump was also impeached by the House in 2019 for pushing Ukraine to investigate Biden and acquitted by the Senate.

He mostly stayed away from talking about the 2020 election during his speech, though he has continued to make baseless claims of widespread election fraud during his rallies and events for other candidates leading up to the midterm elections. While he avoided making such comments Tuesday night, he did call for an end to early and mail-in voting, saying that he would demand voter ID, same-day voting and "only paper ballots."

If he were to win another term, Trump would be just the second U.S. president to win a second term in nonconsecutive elections. Grover Cleveland is the only president in American history to be elected in two nonconsecutive terms in 1884 and 1892.

“I am running because I believe the world has not yet seen the true glory of what this nation can be,” Trump said.

Trump also filed a notice with the Federal Elections Commission on Tuesday declaring himself a candidate and creating a campaign committee.

Biden's personal Twitter account posted a video shortly after Trump's formal announcement with a caption of "Donald Trump failed America." He has not officially announced a reelection campaign or filed with the FEC, but the White House and the president has said he intends to seek a second term as long as his health allows him to.

"Donald Trump was a failure as president; that’s why he lost in 2020 and it’s why he will lose again," Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison said in a statement.

The worse-than-anticipated showing in the midterms for Republicans has led to various questions being raised about the direction of the party with some of its high-profile members outright calling for moving on from the former president.

Trump is still popular among the party's base and is likely to continue to be the frontrunner in public polling about the 2024 Republican primary. However, there have been some signs his support is starting to slip from GOP voters and he remains unpopular with Democrats and some independents.

Polling taken over the summer found more than half of Republican voters wanted someone else as the party's nominee in 2024. Biden is also facing some backlash from his party's voters, with a majority saying they want a new nominee.

Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, said this week that he was considering challenging Trump for the Republican nomination. Pence has mostly stayed away from criticizing Trump since leaving office but described the Jan. 6 insurrection as a “breaking point” and the president’s actions put his life at risk.

“I think we’ll have better choices in the future,” Pence said when asked if Trump should ever be president again.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who just won reelection by a wide margin and is routinely the second-most popular option in a hypothetical primary for Republican voters, told reporters Tuesday that the midterms were disappointing and contrasted his own success.

“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis said.

In recent weeks, Trump has started to take some shots at the Florida governor on his social media platform and through statements issued by his “Save America” PAC. Trump has also frequently sought to claim credit for DeSantis’ first election through an endorsement.

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who has been a frequent critic of the former president, placed the blame of Republican losses squarely on Trump’s shoulders. Hogan has said he was considering running for president in 2024 on several occasions but has not yet made a decision.

“I think it’s basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race, and it’s like three strikes, you’re out,” Hogan said during an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Some GOP members of Congress had already given Trump their endorsement days ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. No. 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik gave him her endorsement last week.

“I am proud to endorse my friend Donald J. Trump for President in 2024,” Stefanik wrote in a tweet. “President Trump has always put America First, and I look forward to supporting him so we can save America.”

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