PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched his third campaign for the White House just one week after a disappointing midterm showing for Republicans, forcing the party to again decide whether to embrace a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 sparked an insurrection and pushed American democracy to the brink.
“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said before an audience of several hundred supporters in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood flanked by American flags and banners bearing his “Make America Great Again” slogan.
“America’s comeback starts right now,” he said, formally beginning the 2024 Republican primary.
Another campaign is a remarkable turn for any former president, much less one who made history as the first to be impeached twice and whose term ended with his supporters violently storming the Capitol in a deadly bid to halt the peaceful transition of power on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump also enters the race in a moment of deep political vulnerability. He hoped to launch his campaign in the wake of resounding GOP midterm victories, fueled by candidates he elevated during this year’s primaries. Instead, many of those candidates lost, allowing Democrats to keep the Senate and leaving the GOP with a path to only a bare majority in the House.
Trump has been blamed for the losses by many in his party, including a growing number who say the results make clear it’s time for the GOP to move past him and look to the future, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis emerging from last week’s elections as an early favorite.
In addition to trying to blunt his potential rivals’ rise, Trump’s decision to launch his candidacy before the 2022 election had been fully decided also comes as he faces a series of escalating criminal investigations, including several that could lead to indictments. They include the probe into hundreds of documents with classified markings that were seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago and ongoing state and federal inquiries into his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump announces a third run for president as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)