PALM BEACH: Donald Trump has filed the necessary paperwork to launch a White House bid in 2024.
Hours before the speech, supporters began filling a ballroom at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach decorated with several chandeliers and lined with dozens of American flags.
The unusually early launch may well be aimed at fending off potential challengers for the party’s nomination in 2024, including rising star Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 44, and Trump’s own former vice president, Mike Pence, 63.
It comes as Republicans closed in on the 218 seats they need to take a majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives.
Sources close to Trump, 76, had said he planned to push ahead despite mixed results from his endorsements this year, with losses by celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire contributing to Republicans’ failure to win a majority in the US Senate.
Another Trump-picked candidate, former football star Herschel Walker, was forced into a Dec 6 runoff in his Georgia race against Democratic US Senator Raphael Warnock. That has raised some concerns that Trump’s announcement could again hurt the party’s chances in a Georgia runoff, similar to the January 2021 runoff that gave Democrats their current majority.
Multiple Trump-aligned candidates who ran on platforms focused on his false claims of widespread election fraud were also defeated.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken before the midterm elections showed that 53 per cent of Americans and almost one in four Republicans view Trump unfavourably. The poll showed a similar number of Americans viewing Biden unfavourably.