Trump Speaks: 2024 Race Starts Now
Trump Speaks: 2024 Race Starts Now
Today was the day that former president Donald Trump had teased a “big announcement” at Mar-a-Lago. Would he really announce that he is running for president today, and launch his 2024 campaign less than a week after a poor showing for Republicans in the midterms?
Trump: “America’s comeback starts right now”
— Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) November 16, 2022
THERE IT IS!
TRUMP: "In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States!" pic.twitter.com/BaULct2DcP
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 16, 2022
The Donald Trump that has been making an ass of himself on Truth Social over the last week was nowhere to be seen. THIS was the Donald Trump that Republicans responded to – big ideas, articulate, zinging a few really good one-liners (“Joe Biden is the face of left wing failure and Washington corruption” may have been his best line of the night), and UNDER CONTROL. When he keeps his ego in check, and acts like a statesman, voters respond to him.
How does Trump explain away the mess that was the midterms, after saying that he would take the credit but not the blame? He gave himself credit for more wins than losses in his endorsements during the midterms, cheered the fact that the House has been officially flipped for Republicans and that Nancy Pelosi has been “fired,” and encouraged everyone to support Herschel Walker in his runoff election for the Senate in Georgia.
But the speech mostly focused on three things: his successes during his presidency, Joe Biden’s failures during his presidency, and his vision for what the country would look like under another Trump administration. And he just sounded so calm, controlled, and normal. Just listen for yourself. (A complete and clean recording of the speech can be found on C-SPAN.)
Now, notice what he did not talk about. While he did mention COVID-19 a few times, and did refer to it as “the China virus,” the one thing that Donald Trump did not say was “vaccine.” That subject is so politicized that even though Trump began Operation Warp Speed to fund a COVID vaccine, he can no longer talk about it without bringing up the specter of Dr. Anthony Fauci and all the bad memories of “15 Days To Slow The Spread” and “30 Days To Slow The Spread.” So while he can talk about the southern border and inflation and Green New Deal legislation, COVID has now become so radioactive that Trump knows he can’t talk about it, unless it is a general sense.
I do think the speech ran too long. After he officially announced that he was running for president in 2024, he continued on with his vision for the country. And while nothing stuck out as problematic, it became rambling and long. It also had a lot of name dropping, as Trump referenced world leaders that he has either talked to or worked with. And when he mentioned the weaponization of the Department of Justice, he remarked “I’m a victim” and talked about the entire “Russian collusion” set up and the raid on Mar-a-Lago. He then went on to talk about how long it takes to count votes on Election Day, and why does it have to take so long in the United States. Rambling Trump is the Trump that gets himself in trouble, and it’s because he loves the sound of his own voice and the crowd cheering him on.
So, what do people think? Could Donald Trump actually be the second president, after Grover Cleveland, to be elected to a second non-consecutive presidential term? If the statesman Trump who stays on message can prevail, he might have half a chance. If rambling Trump who lets his ego start talking and insulting those who should be his allies, then he’s sunk. And it isn’t truly the base he needs to convince. It’s the independents. And if a different Republican candidate with the same goals as Donald Trump, but has control of his or her ego and message, and is able to appeal to the middle without all the baggage of Donald Trump, challenges him? Donald Trump giving a kickoff speech that stays (mostly) on message is one thing. Donald Trump on social media or on a debate stage is another.
Buckle up, everyone. The race for 2024 has officially begun.
Featured image: President Donald Trump via Trump White House Archived Flickr (official White House photo by by Shealah Craighead), cropped, public domain