Former US President Donald Trump announced his bid to run for president againAfter his returned to Washington for the first time since leaving office, forcefully repeating his false election claims that sparked the January 6 insurrection in the nearby Capitol and that he is the only one who can “save the country” of destruction”
“We are preparing for an incredible comeback […] I have to save our country. I can’t do that because I love our country… and people don’t want me to do that. […] If I don’t, our country is doomed“said the former president. “We have to do a great job in 2024 […] orA Republican will take back the White House in 2024, which I strongly believe will happen.”
He received frequent applause and cheers from his audience, at a meeting organized by the Expert Panel America First Policy Institute, administered a group of former White House officials and cabinet members who have been crafting an agenda for a potential second term for Trump.
Former President Trump: “I ran the first time and I won. Then I ran a second time and I did much better. We got millions and millions more votes…We may just have to do it again.” pic.twitter.com/tusyvIu3nQ
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 26, 2022
Trump fueled widespread speculation that a formal declaration for a third presidential candidacy is imminent.
“I applied the first time and I won. Then I applied a second time and did much better. We got millions and millions more votes… We may have to do it again. We have to straighten out our country”, he said with a smirk towards an empathetic audience.
It was 90 minutes of a trip to the past and to Trump’s obsessions regardless of the theme and even bordering on the absurd: that he prefers Michael Jordan over LeBron James, that his nemesis on the January 6 Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff, has a watermelon-shaped head, that the only Republican on the panel, Liz Cheney, is the worst and that his Republican colleague Adam Kinzinger, a decorated former war veteran, “a crybaby.”
When sticking to his speech, read from a teleprompter, Trump verbalized what his public policy advisers prepared for him: death penalty for convicted drug traffickers, resume construction of the wall on the border with Mexico, stop undocumented migrants and deport the 15 million he says will enter the country because of Joe Biden’s “open borders” policy.
And to demonstrate his abilities as a statesman of international stature, he elaborated on an anecdote that he has repeated at other rallies: when, according to him, he pressured President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, although he was careful not to mention him by name, to accept the policy of “Stay in Mexico” and achieve that, in 10 minutes, gave in to sending 28,000 members of the National Guard to the border.
Although he was applauded and cheered for his criticism of Biden’s policies and his attacks on the Commission of January 6 -which investigates the role of the former president in the jump to the Capitol at the beginning of 2021-, Trump’s convening ability showed its wear and tear. No television coverage and few front-page mentions.
In addition, his vice president, Mike Pence, divided the attention with his presence in a parallel forum, where he made it clear that he could be the reasonable alternative to a divisive Trump candidacy.
“I truly believe that elections are about the future, and that it is absolutely essential at a time when so many Americans are hurting, so many families are struggling, that we don’t give in to the temptation to look back,” Pence said.