WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former United States (US) president Donald Trump is expected to officially launch another White House bid today, refusing calls from within his own Republican party to fade away after his loyalists underperformed in this year’s midterm elections. The 76-year-old billionaire, whose 2016 win shocked America and the world, has summoned the press to his Florida mansion for a “very big announcement” at 9pm today (0200 GMT tomorrow).
“President Trump is going to announce today that he’s running for president,” said one of his advisors, Jason Miller, who predicts the speech will be “very professional, very buttoned up”.
Known for his unpredictability, Trump could still change his mind at the last minute, but for months he has barely hidden his desire to vie for the presidency again in 2024.
Delaying the announcement now, as some of his advisors have reportedly suggested to him, would be highly awkward for Trump because he has billed it as “perhaps be the most important speech given in the history of the USA”. A 2024 White House bid would be Trump’s third presidential campaign and – if he wins his party’s nomination – the fifth national election with him as the Republican Party standard-bearer. In 2016, Trump and the Republicans swept into power, taking control of the White House and maintaining their majorities in both chambers of Congress.
But Democrats won back the House of Representatives in a 2018 landslide after campaigning largely against Trump’s caustic style.
Trump then lost re-election in 2020 to Democrat Joe Biden – Trump still refuses to accept defeat – while Democrats won control of the 100-seat Senate with a de-facto majority due to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote in the chamber split 50-50.
After leaving Washington in chaos shortly after his partisans stormed the US Capitol, Trump chose to remain in the political arena, continuing to fund-raise and hold rallies around the country.
Leading up to the 2022 midterm vote, in which Biden’s Democrats had been expected to lose handily, Trump made denial of the 2020 election results a key litmus test for candidates to win his influential political endorsement.
But the predicted Republican “red wave” failed to materialise, and Democrats will maintain their control of the Senate.