Trump has touted his previous campaign, rallied against “global sellouts” and claimed America was in a “horrible state” under the leadership of his current president, Joe Biden.
Watch Donald Trump’s speech live in the video player above.
“Two years ago, we were a great nation,” Trump said flanked by more than 30 American flags and banners that read, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”.
“The decline of America is being forced on us.”
Trump enters the race in a moment of political vulnerability.
He hoped to launch his campaign in the wake of resounding Republican midterm victories, fueled by candidates he elevated during this year’s primaries.
Instead, many of those candidates lost, allowing Democrats to keep the Senate and leaving the GOP with a path to only a bare majority in the House.
Far from the undisputed leader of the party, Trump is now facing criticism from some of his own allies, who say it’s time for Republicans to look to the future, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emerging as an early favourite White House contender.
His campaign organisation, named “Donald J Trump for President 2024” submitted the filing to the Federal Election Commission shortly before his speech.
Announcing a presidential bid two years from election day is highly unusual – the first vote in the 2024 primaries won’t be for 14 months.
Typically unknown candidates jump in a few months after the midterms, and spend the next year introducing themselves to voters in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
But Trump’s early announcement will have another effect.
In the past week Republican insiders have been lavishing praise on DeSantis for his big win in the midterms.
Trump will be hoping his presidential campaign will upstage DeSantis, who is considered the only candidate who can truly challenge him in the Republican primary.
Before the speech, 2012 nominee Mitt Romney used a baseball analogy to pan his fellow Republican.
“He’s been on the mound and lost three straight games. If we want to start winning, we need someone else on the mound,” Romney said.
“And we’ve got a very strong bench that can come out.”
But progressive independent Bernie Sanders had a wry view of a third Trump bid.
“As an American, the idea of another Trump campaign and all of his lies and divisiveness and his efforts to undermine American democracy is an absolute horror show,” he said.
“On the other hand, I got to say that as a politician who wants to see that no Republican is elected to the White House in 2024, from that perspective, his candidacy is probably a good thing.”
Just one president in US history has been elected to two non-consecutive terms: Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892.
Trump is also facing a series of intensifying criminal investigations, including a Justice Department probe into the hundreds of documents with classified markings that were discovered in boxes and drawers at his Mar-a-Lago club.
Aides and allies had urged Trump to wait until after the midterms were over — and then until after a December 6 Senate runoff election in Georgia — to announce his plans.
But Trump, eager to return to the spotlight, is also hoping to stave off a long list of potential challengers, including DeSantis, who cruised to reelection last week and is now being urged by many in his party to run for president as well.
Trump has already begun to lash out at DeSantis publicly and on Tuesday, the Florida governor shot back, dismissing the criticism as “noise.”
“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis told reporters.
Asked whether she would endorse Trump in 2024, Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming told reporters Monday: “I don’t think that’s the right question. I think the question is, who is the current leader of the Republican Party?”
Her answer to that question: “Ron DeSantis.”
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-with Associated Press