Donald Trump announces his 2024 presidential campaign as GOP debates future: recap

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WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will seek the presidency again in 2024, even as a rising number of Republicans are urging the party to look elsewhere in light of their 2022 midterm debacle.

Minutes before his scheduled 9 p.m. announcement from Mar-a-Lago, Trump filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission saying he was running for president in 2024, and setting up a fundraising account.

"America's comeback starts right now," Trump said during his speech at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump had hoped to use a ceremony at his Mar-a-Lago home to seize credit for Republican election victories; but the GOP's failure to take the Senate and struggles in House races scotched that plan and forced Trump onto the political defensive.

Many Republicans blamed Trump and Trump-like candidates for the GOP's poor showing in the 2022 midterm elections and noted that the party as led by the businessman also fared badly in the elections of 2018 and 2020.

"Trump's cost us the last three elections, and I don't want to see it happen a fourth time," Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan told CNN, an example of some of the most pointed criticism from Republicans since Trump's first run for the presidency in 2015-16.

Many Republicans looking for a new leader are turning to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who defied anti-Republican trends by winning reelection with more than 59% of the vote. DeSantis is so popular that Trump has already started attacking him.

In last week's midterm elections, Republicans failed to win control of the Senate – even though they only needed a net gain of one seat – and struggled in a number of U.S. House and state office races. The GOP is still on track to win control of the House, but probably by less than a half-dozen seats – a crushing disappointment for party leaders who had envisioned a "red wave" and blamed Trump for a bare trickle.

"Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser," said a headline in the normally supportive Wall Street Journal editorial page.

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Biden reacts to Trump speech

At the G-20 summit of world leaders in Indonesia, a reporter asked President Joe Biden and President Emmanuel Macron of France if they had any reactions to a Trump 2024 presidential run.

According to a White House pool report, the president responded "not really."

Macron, the pool report noted, stayed silent and did not react.

– Luciana Lopez

Ivanka Trump: I will spend time with my family, not the 2024 campaign

One notable absence from Trump's nascent 2024 campaign: Ivanka Trump.

The former first daughter issued a statement saying "I love my father very much," and added: "This time around, I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family. I do not plan to be involved in politics."

Former President Donald Trump stands on stage with former first lady Melania Trump after announcing a third run for president at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump stands on stage with former first lady Melania Trump after announcing a third run for president at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.

Ivanka Trump added, "I will always love and support my father," but "going forward I will do so outside the political arena."

"I am grateful to have had the honor of serving the American people and I will always be proud of many of our Administration’s accomplishment," she said.

– David Jackson

A second Trump administration would be limited to one term, says U.S. Constitution

Whether Donald Trump's White House comeback succeeds, including winning the Republican nomination, is for voters to decide.

The only thing that's certain is a second Trump presidency would be limited to one term. That much has already been decided by the U.S. Constitution.

The 22nd Amendment states it pretty clearly: "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

– Antonio Fins, Palm Beach Post

Read the whole story here: A second Trump administration would be limited to one term, says U.S. Constitution

Trump targets 'establishment' with long-shot policy proposals

The new 2024 candidate salted his speech with some policy proposals – most of them long shots aimed at what the former president and now three-time presidential candidate calls the "Washington establishment."

Trump called for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress, a "permanent ban" on taxpayer funding of campaigns and a ban on lobbying by former lawmakers.

Members of both parties are likely to balk at these plans; term limits have been a nonstarter with Congress for decades.

Trump also repeated his call to change elections in order to attack early voting and mail-in voting, both of which have gone against him in recent elections. He called for one-day voting with paper ballots.

States run elections.

– David Jackson

Trump proposes changes to election process

Trump announced that he would like to make changes to how elections are run, such as requiring all votes to take place on paper ballots and to have all votes counted on election night.

Presidential elections are currently decentralized and administered at the state level.

– Erin Mansfield

The 45th President Donald J. Trump speaks at his media event in the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on November 15, 2022.
The 45th President Donald J. Trump speaks at his media event in the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on November 15, 2022.

Far-right politicians line up to support Trump

Politicians affiliated with the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and its campaign arm have begun to announce their support for four more years of Trump.

“THIS IS HISTORIC,” tweeted Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, Trump’s former White House physician who was tapped to run the Department of Veterans Affairs but later withdrew.

“We will Make America Great Again!” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia.

“I will do everything I can to deliver Ohio for President Trump once again,” tweeted Max Miller, a Republican congressman-elect from Ohio.

– Erin Mansfield

Biden and the Democrats are already raising money off of Trump's announcement

President Joe Biden and the Democrats didn't waste any time raising money off of Trump's announcement – they emailed potential donors while the former president was still speaking.

"He will fail," said the solicitation signed by Biden, and "people like you stepping up will be a big part of how it’s done."

Biden went on to tout Democratic wins in the midterm elections.

"And if you step up now," the email said, "our party will defeat MAGA Republicans again in 2024."

– David Jackson

Why Trump's decision to run for president won't change his legal woes

Donald Trump's decision to run for president in 2024 has once again thrust to the fore fundamental questions about how prosecutors would handle the panoply of investigations still smoldering from his previous stint in the White House.

Would President Joe Biden's administration take the historic step of prosecuting a political rival? How might a high-profile criminal or civil case proceeding against Trump during a presidential campaign be viewed by voters? What are the implications for the Department of Justice if prosecutors charged Trump but failed to win a conviction?

What's clear: In the eyes of the law, Trump will remain a private citizen during his campaign – unable to rely on protections from prosecution he enjoyed as president.

– John Fritze and Kevin Johnson

Read the whole story: 'Not above the law': Why Trump's decision to run for president won't change his legal woes

Biden fires back at Trump

As the former president spoke about his administration's accomplishments, President Joe Biden's campaign account wrote, "Donald Trump failed America."

The post included a video with Trump saying, "Nobody has ever done what we have done in the last four years."

-- Erin Mansfield

Trump's announcement speech: a lot like his rally speeches

The ex-president's speech sounded a lot like his remarks at political rallies throughout the 2022 midterm elections, with the notable exception that he flatly said, finally, he was "announcing my candidacy for president of the United States."

Otherwise, Trump talked about – and exaggerated –  his record in office on issues like COVID, trade, energy, crime and  immigration, as well as China, Russia, Iran, while attacking various these developments during the Joe Biden administration.

Trump also distorted the results of the 2022 elections. He said Republicans will likely win control of the U.S. House, but did not mention that their margin may be less than a half-dozen seats – much smaller that Trump and the Republican had hoped.

People cheer as 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.
People cheer as 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.

He acknowledged that the GOP lost ground in the Senate, but added that "we cannot lose hope."

What Trump did not mention: A rising number of party members have blamed those losses on him, and suggested that he step aside for 2024.

Trump did not heed that advice.

"We will not stop," he said.

– David Jackson

Do Republicans have to nominate Trump in 2024? What to know

Political parties often nominate the incumbent president for reelection if the leader is a member of their party. For example, after Trump won the 2016 presidential election, he was easily nominated by the Republican Party in 2020. And after former President Barack Obama won the 2008 race for the White House, he was nominated by the Democratic Party in the 2012 presidential election.

But does a political party have to nominate a person because they are currently serving as president – or because they previously served as president? Here’s what you need to know.

-- Marina Pitofsky

Read the whole story here: Do Republicans have to nominate Trump in 2024? Does Biden have to be picked? What to know

Trump files paperwork for 2024 run

Former President Donald Trump has filed official paperwork with the Federal Election Commission declaring himself a candidate for president in 2024.

Additional documents filed with the FEC set up an account for campaign fundraising. It will be linked to the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, which for months has been pouring money into Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America.

-- Erin Mansfield, David Jackson

DeSantis reaction to a possible announcement

DeSantis declined to comment on Trump's expected announcement Tuesday but did say that the newly-minted criticism from the former president and his allies is meaningless "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.

-- David Jackson

Trump vs. DeSantis: Trump is under fire over the midterms. DeSantis is rising. And a 2024 rivalry is just beginning.

An unprecedented race is forming

Trump's speech sets up an unprecedented campaign: A candidate seeking to become the first ex-president to reclaim the White House since Grover Cleveland in 1892 – all while under criminal investigation on multiple fronts and possibly under indictment down the line.

Republican office holders reacted tepidly to the possibility of an announcement.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., told reporters that "anybody can run" and that the "world has changed considerably" in recent weeks. Cornyn said he doesn't think Trump will be "the only one who will run for president in 2024 and I’ll support the Republican nominee. But I don't know that it will be him."

Several Republicans, including long-time allies like former spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany, had urged Trump to delay his announcement, at least until after a Dec. 6 Senate runoff in Georgia. Trump refused.

-- David Jackson

Trump talk: Do Republicans think Donald Trump will just go quietly? HAH! Good luck with that.

Speaking right before Trump: Biden

The real word intruded on Trump's big announcement: Minutes before he took the stage at Mar-a-Lago, President Joe Biden spoke in Bali about a missile landing in Poland.

Speaking from the site of a G-20 economic conference, Biden said the U.S. will support Poland's investigation into the and suspicions that Russia is involved.

– David Jackson  

The push for DeSantis

An unprecedented race by nature is unpredictable, but one thing seems fairly certain: DeSantis will play a large role, one way or another.

A number of Republicans are pushing DeSantis to run against Trump, citing his success winning reelection last week as opposed to Trump's failures.

The conservative Club For Growth, an anti-tax organization, put out polls showing DeSantis winning one-on-one contests against Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold Republican delegate contests in the 2024 nomination race. Club-sponsored polls also showed DeSantis ahead of Trump in Florida and Georgia.

David McIntosh, president of the Club For Growth's political arm, said the polling shows that "Republican primary voters recognize Trump’s insults against Republicans as hollow and counterproductive, and it’s taking a significant toll on his support."

McIntosh and Trump clashed over strategy and candidates at points during the 2022 midterm campaign.

-- David Jackson

Trump is still in a strong position

Despite the recent negativity, some Republicans pointed out that Trump remains in a strong position for 2024; he still has a significant conservative base and would be hard to beat in a Republican primary.

Trump has been down before – especially after the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021 – and bounced back with the help of GOP acolytes.

Brendan Buck, a former spokesperson for 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, said he would love to see a "new face" for the party but is "skeptical" that a Trump challenger could prevail.

Even if DeSantis or someone else could somehow topple Trump, the new GOP leader would still have to face a vindictive ex-president more than willing to tear down the party, or even run as an independent, Buck said.

"What then are the chances Trump wouldn’t entirely sabotage that person in the general election?" Buck said.

-- David Jackson

Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests at Mar-a-lago on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests at Mar-a-lago on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Weekend presidential cattle call

DeSantis is not the only potential Trump challenger, and an entire group will be on display this weekend in Las Vegas.

Trump's own vice president, Mike Pence, is also thinking about taking the plunge. Pence is currently on a book tour.

Pence, DeSantis and other potential Republican candidates are scheduled to address this weekend's annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, the first presidential "cattle call" of the 2024 presidential cycle.

The other hopefuls at the conference include former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Sens. Rick Scott of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

-- David Jackson

The decision: Trump weighs announcing 2024 run as early as this summer amid Jan. 6 revelations, allies say

Biden v. Trump, redux?:Biden says he would be 'very fortunate' if Trump runs against him in 2024

The investigations

Hovering above Trump and the Republican field, however big it gets: Investigations.

Prosecutors are probing the former president over removal of classified documents from the White House, attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden, and the insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021.

Rematch? No, thanks: Two-thirds of Americans say no thanks to a Biden v. Trump rematch in 2024

All those investigations: Donald Trump's scandals are unique in history. Here's how.

The U.S. Justice Department and local prosecutors in Atlanta are looking at Trump's role in attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss and the subsequent insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.

A grand jury is also investigating whether Trump improperly removed classified documents from the White House when he left in early 2021. That probe included a search of his Mar-a-Lago, the site of Tuesday's announcement.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and has called the investigations politically motivated.

Since 2021, Trump has faced legal scrutiny in at least six independent federal and state inquiries that are both criminal and civil in nature. At least two investigations involve the 2020 election.

A special House committee has been digging into Trump's role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, also the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

New York's attorney general has sued the Trump Organization over its business practices and made referrals to the Manhattan district attorney's office.

-- David Jackson

Watchdog says Trump already a candidate under campaign finance law

A nonpartisan watchdog group alleged in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that former President Donald Trump and his affiliated fundraising groups have been violating campaign finance laws.

Monday’s complaint from the Campaign Legal Center focuses on $20 million transferred from Save America to a super PAC called MAGA Inc. in advance of the 2022 midterms and alleges that MAGA Inc. “intends to spend millions influencing federal elections, including Trump’s own campaign.”

At issue are federal restrictions on how candidates versus non-candidates are allowed to spend money and a requirement by the Federal Election Commission that candidates file a specific form once they have raised or spent more than $5,000. The Campaign Legal Center alleges that Trump’s financing is “well in excess” of this threshold.

“He never stopped running in a sense because he never stopped raising money,” Saurav Ghosh, the Campaign Legal Center’s director for federal reform told USA TODAY. “It just became a legal problem when he thought up a way that he could use that war chest to give him a jump start on 2024. Unfortunately the law doesn’t allow that.”

Ghosh said it is not likely that the FEC — a commission of three Republicans and three Democrats that often deadlocks on contentious issues — is likely to penalize Trump.

-- Erin Mansfield

Sen. Tuberville on Trump’s potential presidential bid

When asked about former President Donald Trump’s planned announcement Tuesday evening, Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said he is a supporter of the former president and had dinner with him last week where the two discussed when is the best time to launch a presidential campaign.

“I gave him my thoughts and opinions on when to, when not to (run), but he's going to do what he thinks is right for his campaign,” Tuberville said.

Tuberville said the former president has some “negatives” to overcome but said he believes they will resolve themselves when Trump is on the campaign trail and starts talking about issues.

Tuberville, who said Trump helped him get elected, dubbed Trump the “heir apparent” when asked whom he views as the current leader of the Republican party but added that the GOP is searching for one.

-- Rachel Looker 

How to watch Trump’s announcement live

Former President Donald Trump’s 9 p.m. ET announcement from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida will be livestreamed on several websites.

-- Erin Mansfield

The Democrats

One group is particularly enjoying the Republican spectacle: Democrats

Some are already stirring the pot against a Trump-divided party.

Florida Democrat Nikki Fried, the state's agriculture commissioner, tweeted recently against DeSantis: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Don’t be fooled by @RonDeSantisFL, he is more extreme, radical and dangerous than the other Florida resident."

Fried also had a message for Trump, who has referred to the governor as 'Ron DeSanctimonious:' "Oh & Donald, I had a better nickname for him 'tater'. He didn’t like that!"

Biden told reporters he looked forward to a Trump-DeSantis match-up – "it'd be fun watching them take on each other" – and long said he wouldn't mind a re-match with Trump.

As far back as March, Biden said: "I'd be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me."

-- David Jackson

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump announcement: He's running for president for 2024