Trump prepares to launch his 3rd campaign for the White House


Policy

An announcement is expected Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST from his Palm Beach club.

FILE – Former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at Mar-a-lago on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is preparing to launch his third campaign for the White House on Tuesday, looking to move on from disappointing midterm defeats and defying history amid signs that his grip on the Republican Party is waning.

Trump had hoped to use expected GOP gains in last week’s election as a springboard to claim his party’s nomination. Instead, he finds himself accused of backing a string of losing candidates after Republicans failed to take control of the Senate. As the party was poised to regain control of the House on Tuesday, it could end up with its narrowest majority in decades.

“Let’s hope that tomorrow will be one of the most important days in the history of our country!” Trump wrote on his social media network on Monday. An announcement was expected Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST from his Palm Beach club.

Another campaign is a remarkable turning point for any former president, let alone one who made history as the first to be impeached twice and whose term ended with his supporters violently storming the Capitol. American in a deadly attempt to halt the peaceful transition of power on January 1. 6, 2021. Only one president in United States history has been elected to two non-consecutive terms: Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892.

Trump also faces a series of escalating criminal investigations, including a Justice Department probe into the hundreds of documents bearing classified marks that were discovered in boxes and drawers at his Mar-a club. -The girlfriend.

Aides and allies had urged Trump to wait until the end of the midterms — and then until the end of the December 6 senatorial elections in Georgia — to announce his plans. But Trump, eager to return to the spotlight, is also hoping to avoid a long list of potential challengers, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who ran for re-election last week and is now invited by many in his party. to run for president. a well.

Trump has already begun to publicly lash out at DeSantis and on Tuesday the Florida governor responded, calling the criticism “noise.”

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

Trump has tried to blame Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for the GOP’s performance — and McConnell’s allies have criticized Rick Scott, the Florida senator who heads the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee.

However, Trump received the most criticism for elevating candidates in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona that were unattractive to general election voters because they embraced his lies about the 2020 election or had tough views on issues like abortion that were out of step with the mainstream.

While Trump has the support of Republican No. 3 in the House, Rep. Elise Stefanik, others were already moving on.

When asked if she would support Trump in 2024, Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming told reporters on Monday, “I don’t think that’s the right question. I think the question is, who is the current leader of the Republican Party?

His answer to this question: “Ron DeSantis”.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a longtime Trump critic, compared Trump to a pitcher who continues to lose after GOP disappointments in 2018, 2020 and now 2022.

“He’s been on the mound and lost three games in a row. If we want to start winning, we need someone else on the mound. And we have a very strong bench that can come out,” Romney said. “I know, there are fans who love him. Just like, you know, an aging pitcher, it’s always fans who want to keep them there forever. But if you keep losing games, try to put some new players on the field.

Others expressed concern that Trump’s announcement would be a distraction from the race in Georgia and urged potential candidates to focus there.

“What’s really important for anyone who wants to be a candidate in 2024 is to help us right now in 2022 to complete the cycle by winning Georgia State,” said Sen. John Thune, RS.D.

“We obviously had higher expectations in the Senate, which did not materialize. I think there are a lot of different things that contribute to that,” Thune added. “But I think, you know, people who were unduly focused on the 2020 election, that’s not a winning strategy with independent voices.”

Even the former president’s right-wing allies in the House Freedom Caucus kept their distance ahead of Trump’s announcement.

“I’m focused on what’s going on here,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chairman of the Freedom Caucus, as lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill on Monday. “I just don’t pay attention to any of those things, so I don’t want to comment on that.”

Meanwhile, in Utah, 86 Republican lawmakers sent out a press release on Monday urging DeSantis to run, reflecting annoyance at having Trump as their party’s flag bearer. The state’s Mormon majority has long been skeptical of Trump’s isolationism and foul language.

And in Michigan, Paul Cordes, Michigan’s Republican Party chief of staff, penned a four-page internal memo that criticized Trump-backed candidates for “statewide sweeps” that will give Democrats the upper hand. full state government control for the first time in 40 years. years. That includes Tudor Dixon, who lost the gubernatorial race to Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer by double digits.

Trump, Cordes wrote, was “popular among our base and a motivator for his supporters, but provided challenges on a statewide ballot, especially with independents and women on the ballot. mid-term elections”.

Representative Liz Cheney, another Trump critic who is eyeing her own 2024 run, highlighted the losses of Trump-backed candidates during a speech Tuesday morning at the Washington Post’s Global Women’s Summit.

“It’s definitely not the deployment that I’m sure Donald Trump wanted for his announcement tonight. But it’s also not the first time he’s been totally detached from reality,” Cheney said. “There is no doubt that he is unfit for office. And I am convinced that he will never be president again.”

Meanwhile, Josh Holmes, a Republican consultant close to McConnell, said Trump remains “by far the frontrunner” as he enters the race. But Holmes also said a third presidential bid would be significantly different for Trump.

“There has never been a single primary victory by a presidential candidate that was conducted in a backward fashion. It’s all about the future,” Holmes said.

As for DeSantis, Holmes said, “His national profile right now is undeniable. … We’re going to find out” if he can maintain that strength.

Associates Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Kevin Freking in Washington, Samuel Metz in Salt Lake City, Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, Steve Peoples in New York, and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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