Former US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his intention to run for the White House once again in the 2024 presidential election.
"I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump told the audience at his Mar-a-Lago club launching his bid. "America's comeback starts right now."
Earlier in the day, his aides filed paperwork with the US Federal Election Commission setting up a committee called "Donald J. Trump for President 2024."
'Everybody was thriving'
In his speech, Trump defended his legacy of ripping up trade deals, foreign policy, border control, and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In four short years everybody was doing great. Everybody was thriving like never before," Trump said of his time in office, claiming that under his single, 4-year term tenure, the United States enjoyed "decades" of peace.
He also implied that China interfered in the 2020 election, in which he lost.
Trump claimed that Biden has undermined Trump's legacy since taking power.
"For millions of Americans, the two years under Joe Biden have been a time of pain, hardship and despair," he said, citing inflation, gas prices, energy shortages, supposed loss of border control, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
He claimed that Russia's invasion of Ukraine would never have happened had he been in power.
He defended the Republicans' turn-out in the midterms, in which they failed to take control of the Senate. But he said two more years of Biden would open voters' eyes to the benefits of a Trump presidency.
Trump once targeted migrants saying, "We're being poisoned," and claimed that crime waves in American cities have left "cesspools of blood."
He pledged to support the death penalty for drug traffickers, term limits for legislators and promised to rehire military personnel who had been discharged for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
Trump defies Republican call for a change
Trump's declaration comes after speculation intensified in recent months that he intended to run for president once again. It also comes as Republicans closed in on the 218 seats they need to take a majority in the House of Representatives.
The former president's announcement to run as a Republican candidate comes despite the disappointing showing of the candidates he backed in last week's midterm congressional elections.
Many Republicans blame him for their party's poorer-than-expected performance.
Some within the GOP want a change of guard, with many looking at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, especially after his recent resounding win, as the next Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination.
Other candidates in the fray include his own former vice president, Mike Pence, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Investigations against the former president
The former president's push for another White House term also comes at a time when he is facing a congressional subpoena regarding his role in the attack on the US Capitol by his followers on January 6, 2021, as well as a criminal probe by the Justice Department into his possession of official papers taken when he left office. Trump's speech did not make any mention of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
In Georgia, the Trump Campaign is being investigated for attempting to influence the 2020 results.
Additionally, Trump's namesake firm allegedly engaged in years of false bookkeeping by deceiving banks about the value of his assets, according to a lawsuit brought against him in New York by Attorney General Letitia James.
The Trump Organization facing criminal tax fraud charges.
He had always denied any wrongdoings and called the investigations politically motivated.
Trump was the first US president to be impeached twice but was acquitted both times by Republicans in the Senate.
'Trump failed America'
Biden responded Wednesday to Trump's announcement of another run for the White House by saying the Republican "failed" his country while in office.
"Donald Trump failed America," Biden said in a tweet.
A video accompanying Biden's tweet accused Trump of "rigging economy for rich," "attacking health care," "coddling extremists," "attacking women's rights," and "inciting a violent mob" to try and overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden.
Trump grudgingly left office at the end of his term claiming without providing evidence that voter fraud delivered Biden election an victory over him. Some 60 court cases rejected claims from Trump allies alleging fraud in the 2020 election.
If reelected, Trump would be the only second president to serve non-consecutive terms, after Grover Cleveland, who was elected in 1884 and 1892.
jsi, ss/aw (AP, Reuters, AFP)