Former President Donald Trump, turning a deaf ear to establishment calls to hold off and Democrat efforts to stop him, officially declared his 2024 presidential campaign Tuesday night.
"In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump told his crowd at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, at 9:22 p.m. ET. The address, heavily touted for days, aired live on Newsmax.
"This will not be my campaign. This will be our campaign all together, because the only force strong enough to defeat the massive corruption we are up against is you the American people. It's true. The American people, the greatest people on Earth. We love them all. And we love both sides. We're going to bring people together. We're going to unify. ..."
"Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens, America's comeback starts right now," Trump's speech began, He referenced the struggles of President Joe Biden's America under Democrat rule, calling America a great nation "in decline."
"We are here tonight to declare that it does not have to be this way – does not have to be this way," Trump continued. "Two years ago, we were a great nation and soon we will be a great nation again. The decline of America is being forced upon us by Biden and the radical left lunatics running our government right into the ground. This decline is not a fate we must accept when given the choice."
Trump is determined to end the political leadership of Biden, as he has with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (The GOP will retake House control based on the midterms, Newsmax has projected, though, Dems retain Senate control.)
"I will ensure that Joe Biden does not receive four more years in 2024," Trump said. "Our country could not take that. And I say that not in laughter, I say that in tears. Our country could not take four more years. It can only take so much. It's all very fragile to start off with. It can only take so much."
Trump harkened back to his first presidential campaign.
"Just as I promised in 2016, I am your voice," Trump said. "I am your voice. The Washington establishment wants to silence us, but we will not let them do that. What we have built together over the past six years is the greatest movement in history because it is not about politics. It's about our love for this great country, America, and we're not going to let it fail.
"I am running because I believe the world has not yet seen the true glory of what this nation can be. We have not reached that pinnacle. Believe it or not. In fact, we can go very far. We're going to have to go far first. We have to get out of this ditch."
Trump said he will rebuild the struggling U.S. economy.
"Biden administration has destroyed the U.S. economy – just destroyed it," Trump continued. "With victory, we will again build the greatest economy ever. It will take place quickly. We will build the greatest economy ever.
"And, if you remember, I did it twice. I did it before COVID and then handed off something where the stock market was higher than just prior to COVID coming in – and we did it twice, and we will do it again. But this time we'll do it bigger, stronger, better than ever."
A Federal Elections Commission filing showed a registration for "Donald J. Trump for President 2024" just minutes before his planned remarks.
"Instead of putting America last as the Biden administration has done very, very openly and bravely – because I can't imagine saying let's put America last – I think it takes courage: We will again put America first – every policy," Trump said. "We do love our country. It's why we're here.
"I didn't need this. I had a very nice, easy life."
Trump warned Biden's foreign policy has shown weakness and led to historic nuclear danger and threats.
"I will keep America out of foolish and unnecessary foreign wars, just as I did for four straight years: We will again have peace through strength," Trump said. "That's all it is. As events overseas have shown, to protect our people from the unthinkable threat of nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles. The United States must also build a state of the art next generation missile defense shield.
"We need it. The power of these missiles and the power of a word that I refused to say: Nuclear. We have to have it. We need a defense shield. And we have to do it, and we actually have the technology, and we're going to build it. Just as I rebuilt our military, I will get this done. I rebuilt our entire military."
In some new, bold calls, Trump teased term limits and constitutional amendments to "drain the swamp."
"I will dismantle the deep state and restore government by the people," Trump said. "To further drain the swamp, I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress. It's time. And I will ask for a permanent ban on taxpayer funding of campaigns, a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress."
On elections, Trump repeated calls for all paper ballots and to have an election night, instead of drawing out the vote counts for days, if not weeks.
"It's horrible what's happening with our election and election process, and I'll get that job done," Trump said. "That's a very personal job for me. I take that very personal. But this is just the beginning."
Trump had been beating back recent calls for him to hold off his declaration, calling out establishment efforts to prop up primary challenges, including by longtime ally Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis, who won reelection by a huge margin in the midterms, is being hailed by some political observers as a leading candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, with some recent polling now showing him ahead of Trump. Other polls continue to characterize Trump as the Republican to beat.
Note: Get Dick Morris' new book "The Return" on Trump's secret plan for 2024. See It Here!
Meanwhile, Trump is still facing Democrat resistance, including continued attempts to frame him for the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. He is also facing the investigation under the Presidential Records Act that led to the raid on his private residence at Mar-a-Lago in August.
At his midterm Save America rallies for his endorsed candidates, Trump repeatedly maintained the "witch hunt" against him would stop if he were to back off from his continued White House aspirations.
His 2020 presidential run was announced on the day he took office in January 2017. His June 2015 stroll down the Trump Tower escalator started it all.
Trump has long teased his 2024 run for the White House, but he called out archaic campaign finance laws for holding off until the 2022 midterms. Then, he decided he would allow the Republican candidates to have their moment without his own 2024 declaration taking the limelight.
"We will be resisted by the combined forces of the establishment, the media, the special interests, globalists, the Marxist radicals, the woke corporations, the weaponized power of the federal government, colossal political machines, the tidal wave of dark money, and the most dangerous domestic censorship system ever created by man or women – the most dangerous system we've ever had.
"We will be attacked. We will be slandered. We will be persecuted, just as I have been. I mean, I have been, but many people in this room have been, but we will not be intimidated. We will persevere. We will stand tall in the storm. We will March forward into the torrent. And we, in the end, we'll win."
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