After relentlessly teasing the possibility for the better part of two years, and in the wake of a historically poor midterm performance by Republicans, Donald Trump finally launched his third consecutive bid for the White House.
“In order to make America great and glorious again,” he declared from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, “I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States." The announcement was long expected. The speech itself, subdued.
At least, that is, when compared to previous fare characteristic of the Trump Era. The goal was not to fire up the crowd for an election 720 days away. Trump seemed, instead, intent on staking a claim to the Republican nomination and clearing the field of competition.
He was careful to define his new candidacy by bookending it between his previous presidential term, claiming the country was then “at the pinnacle of power, prosperity, and prestige,” and the current moment “of pain, hardship, anxiety, and despair” allegedly ushered in by President Biden. When he was in the White House, “we were a strong nation and, importantly, we were a free nation.” Under the Democrat, “we are a nation in decline – we are a failing nation.”