Donald Trump will seek the presidency for a third time in 2024, the former president announced in a speech from his Florida estate Tuesday night, paving the way for a contentious Republican primary and a potential rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden for the White House in two years.
“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said from Mar-a-Lago.
The former president spoke a week after midterm elections that saw Democrats keep the Senate, and a number of candidates backed by him lost their races, such as Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and that state’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano. That’s prompted debate about moving on from Trump as the party eyes its 2024 chances.
Trump — who a House panel has charged with a conspiracy aimed overturning the 2020 presidential election — is likely to face a crowded field in the contest for the GOP presidential nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seen at this stage as his most formidable opponent. Other potential candidates include former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump may view DeSantis as posing his most daunting challenge, given the energy he has spent since the midterm elections lashing out at the the Florida governor. The former president remains a popular figure in the Republican Party and has proven himself adept at sidelining rivals for the affection of the GOP base.
Speaking to a crowded room at Mar-a-Lago, Trump bashed the Biden administration and claimed, “we built the greatest economy in the history of the world.” Under Biden, he said, the U.S. is a “nation in decline.” Biden fired back in a video posted on Twitter as Trump was speaking: “Donald Trump failed America.”
“America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump said. “I will fight like I’ve never fought before.”
During his White House term, Trump presided over impressive gains in the stock market, with the 24.2% rise in the Nasdaq COMP, +1.45% ranking as the best ever during a presidential term since the index made its debut in the early 1970s. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.17% gained 11.8% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.87% rose 13.7% during the four-year span.
Some of those gains can be attributed to Trump’s signature legislative achievement: a major corporate-tax cut that saw the top federal rate slashed from 35% to 21%, padding corporate profits and making the shares of large U.S. companies more valuable, often via share buybacks.
Investors were less enthusiastic about the former president’s trade war with China — a high-profile standoff that often sent stocks tumbling on news of new trade restrictions, or soaring on the perception of easing tensions.
From the archives (May 2020): Trade-war collateral damage: destruction of $1.7 trillion in U.S. companies’ market value
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the focus of policy makers in both countries, and Biden has largely kept the tariffs his predecessor put in place. Despite these restrictions, the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China set a record of $355 billion in 2021.
Trump on Tuesday said he wants to eliminate the U.S.’s dependence on China, by bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. He also falsely claimed that inflation is at a 50-year high — it is at a 40-year high.
Economic policy often took a back seat to the various scandals that plagued Trump in his tumultuous term in office, when he became the first president to ever be impeached twice by the House of Representatives.
The first impeachment resulted from a 2019 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky for a “favor” in announcing the launch of an investigation into Biden, then viewed as a likely Trump rival in the 2020 election. Democrats alleged that Trump withheld aid approved by Congress in an effort to ensure an investigation was announced.
The second impeachment of Trump followed the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, with a bipartisan majority in the House arguing that he encouraged the attack.
The former president’s legal troubles have not abated since he left office, and he’s facing several state and local investigations, civil and criminal, while some experts believe he will be indicted by Attorney General Merrick Garland for mishandling defense secrets and obstruction of justice after an FBI raid appeared to show that he lied to the government about classified documents in his possession.