Gathered at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump told the crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, our distinguished guests, America’s comeback starts right now.”
“We have always known that this was not the end, it was only the beginning to resurrect the American dream…In order to make America glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
He filed officially with the Federal Elections Commission shortly before the announcement.
After losing the 2020 election, Trump’s frequently flirted with the idea — which had snowballed into a full-blown expectation as of late. He alluded to the run last month in Robstown, saying that “[he would] probably have to do it again,” as well as in Ohio on the eve of Election Day.
Polling across the nation has long shown the former president as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a distant second. But that changed drastically after national Republicans’ lackluster midterm. A poll released on Monday by the Republican Party of Texas showed DeSantis up 11 points on Trump among GOP voters in the state, a 28-point swing from the October iteration.
A similar poll by the Club for Growth surveying GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire — the first two primary states — along with Florida and Georgia showed DeSantis with the same or larger leads over the former president.
The week before the election, the former president took a shot at the Florida governor at his Pennsylvania rally, calling his counterpart “Ron DeSanctimonious.” He’s since made other remarks about his prospective competition.
DeSantis finally responded, indirectly, to Trump’s comments, saying on Tuesday, “”One of the things I’ve learned in this job is when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire, that’s just the nature of it.”
“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
The run is likely a welcome development for certain Texas Republicans, including Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who chaired Trump’s Texas campaign.
After the announcement, Patrick posted on Facebook saying: “President Trump is the candidate the Democrats fear the most in 2024. If you heard his speech tonight, you know why. It was one of the best he has ever given. After two more years of President Biden and the leftist policies of the Democrats, Americans will be ready for America to be Great Again.”
President Joe Biden has not announced whether he will seek re-election in two years, but it’s possible 2024 becomes a 2020 rematch.
Trump won Texas by 5.6 points and thus took the state’s 38 electoral college votes. This year, the former president has been quite involved with endorsements in Texas, backing nearly 40 Republican officials and candidates.
Other Texas officials — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Greg Abbott — have mulled a 2024 bid, but it remains unclear if this announcement will deter their entry. Both have polled far below Trump and DeSantis.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include Patrick’s statement.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.