Donald Trump aides file paperwork for 2024 White House bid

Donald Trump aides filed paperwork for a 2024 presidential bid on Tuesday as supporters gathered at his gilt-edged Florida resort where he was expected to announce a new White House bid that would return his false claims of election fraud to the center of US politics.

Bradley Crate, who has previously worked for Trump political organizations, filed paperwork with the US Federal Election Commission setting up a committee called “Donald J. Trump for President 2024.”

Trump’s expected announcement late on Tuesday follows a disappointing showing in last week’s midterm congressional elections that many Republicans blame on him.

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 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.

Conservative columnist Marc Thiessen urged him not to run again.

“That should be a wake-up call for Trump. He cannot win the presidency with his base alone,” Thiessen wrote in a Washington Post column. “His conduct since losing office has made him unelectable.”

Jason Miller, a Trump adviser, said the former president will urge his supporters to back Walker in a speech that he described as “forward looking.” Trump decided to make his announcement now to provide some excitement for Republicans, Miller said.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken before the midterm elections showed that 53% of Americans and almost one in four Republicans view Trump unfavorably. The poll showed a similar number of Americans viewing Biden unfavorably.

Trump plans to launch his campaign nearly two years before the Nov. 5, 2024, election despite these concerns, said two sources familiar with his plans.

Pence released a book on Tuesday detailing Trump’s unsuccessful pressure campaign to overturn his 2020 defeat. DeSantis, who Trump has given the derisive nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious,” handily won re-election last week. On Tuesday afternoon, a plane towed a banner above Mar-a-Lago that read “You lost again Donald! #DeSantis2024.”

Legal troubles

Trump will seek his party’s nomination even as he faces trouble on several fronts, including a criminal investigation into the removal of classified documents from the White House as well as a congressional subpoena related to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, US Capitol attack by his supporters. Trump has called the various investigations he faces politically motivated and denies wrongdoing.

One of his former top executives, Allen Weisselberg, testified on Tuesday as a witness for the prosecution in a tax-fraud trial targeting Trump’s namesake company.

The businessman-turned-politician, who has sought to maintain an iron grip on the Republican Party since leaving office, has persisted in making false claims that the 2020 election he lost to Biden was stolen through widespread voting fraud.

Trump is seeking to become only the second US president in history to serve non-consecutive terms, after Grover Cleveland, whose second stint ended in 1897. Biden, 79, has said he intends to run for re-election to a second four-year term in office, though he has yet to make a final decision.

During his turbulent 2017-2021 presidency, Trump defied democratic norms and promoted “America First” nationalism while presenting himself as a right-wing populist. He became the first US president to be impeached twice, though congressional Democrats failed in their attempts to remove him from office.

At a rally that preceded the Capitol attack, Trump urged supporters to “fight like hell” and march on Congress to “stop the steal,” but the mob that subsequently stormed the Capitol failed to prevent Congress from formally certifying Biden’s election victory.

Four people died on the day in the violence, one shot dead by police and the other three of natural causes. A Capitol Police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the following day. Two police officers who took part in the defense of the Capitol later took their own lives.

More than a hundred police officers were injured.

Even though court and state election officials rejected Trump’s false election claims, about two-thirds of Republican voters believe Biden’s victory was illegitimate, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

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