Trump, twice-impeached and under criminal investigation, launches 2024 campaign
Former President Trump, who continues to spread baseless lies about his 2020 defeat, began an unprecedented comeback bid by declaring his 2024 campaign for president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Tuesday night.
Why it matters: Trump — the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, most recently for incitement of insurrection — changed American politics with his unconventional governing style and undeniable grip on the GOP. But his third presidential run comes as Republicans are reevaluating his role as the face of the party following midterm failures and ongoing controversies.
- The former president is currently embroiled in numerous criminal investigations, including separate Justice Department inquiries into his handling of classified materials found at Mar-a-Lago and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
- Atlanta-area prosecutors are also conducting a criminal investigation into Trump's attempts to pressure Georgia officials to meddle in the 2020 election. In New York, longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg took the witness stand in a criminal tax fraud trial against the former president's company hours before he was set to make his 2024 announcement.
What they're saying: Trump began his speech Tuesday by praising the MAGA movement and rattling off a list of his administration's proclaimed accomplishments on the economy, immigration and foreign policy, declaring the country was "ready for its golden age" when he left office.
- He excoriated President Biden for the "decline of America" over the past two years, reviving his use of violent imagery to paint a picture of a country overrun by crime and drugs.
- Trump accused Biden of embarrassing the U.S. with his administration's flawed withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 and of "leading us to the brink of nuclear war" with Russia.
- Addressing the GOP's disappointing performance in last week's midterms, Trump promised a better result in 2024: "The citizens of our country haven't realized the full gravity of the pain our nation is going through, and the total effect of the suffering is just starting to take hold," he said.
What's new: Trump toward the end of his roughly hourlong speech proposed several policies he would push for as president, including term limits and a ban on stock trading for members of Congress.
- Trump largely veered away from repeating his lies about the 2020 election but said as president he would "immediately demand voter ID, same day voting, and only paper ballots" to "eliminate cheating" in elections.
- Early voting has been on the rise in the U.S. and in recent elections has often been more prevalent among Democrats.
- Trump's focus on elections-related policies came after voters broadly rejected his endorsed candidates who embraced election denialism during the midterms.
State of play: The announcement came after months of speculation about his future plans. Trump had at one point contemplated declaring his campaign before the midterms, but was talked out of it by advisers.
- He filed federal paperwork formally entering the race shortly before the announcement.
- Ivanka Trump said soon after her father launched his campaign that she does "not plan to be involved in politics."
The big picture: Trump won in 2016 after running on a platform that embraced "America First" ideologies and xenophobic rhetoric. If he is re-elected, his allies have prepared to radically reshape the federal government, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists.
- During his time in office, Trump enacted sweeping tax cuts, tightened border security, rolled back protections in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, issued a travel ban for several majority-Muslim countries and took on a trade war with China.
- Though he maintains a devoted following, his term was defined by a number of controversies, including special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and his cozy relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Trump's administration also faced intense scrutiny for its handling of the initial U.S. response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Trump was impeached the first time for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in late 2019, accused of soliciting foreign interference from Ukraine's president in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
- Following the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, aides and staffers have since testified that the temperamental Trump refused to deescalate his supporters as the mob breached the Capitol. His actions led to his second impeachment.
One of the most lasting legacies of his term was the appointment of three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority that ruled earlier this year in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade.
Flashback: Trump was kicked off several major social media platforms after the Capitol riot. He has since launched the social media platform Truth Social, a clone of Twitter, which the former president had used as a primary communication tool before and during his time in office.
- Recent private and public polling indicates that support for DeSantis has surged in the days after an array of Trump-backed candidates were defeated in the midterms, with a number of high-profile Republicans now calling for the party to move on Trump.
What's next: The announcement sets up another potential showdown between Trump and Biden, who said last month that he'd decide on another run after the midterms.
- Asked by a reporter in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 summit if he had a reaction to Trump's 2024 announcement, Biden said: "No, not really."
Go deeper: A radical plan for Trump's second term
This story and headline have been updated with additional details throughout.