Former US President Donald Trump hints at 2024 run for the White House
Former US President Donald Trump on Sunday hinted at another run for the White House in 2024, as he repeated the discredited claim that the last election was “stolen” from him.
The former US president also said that he is not launching a new political party as had been speculated, and called for Republicans to unify.
Taking the stage for the first time since leaving office, Trump launched an attack on his successor, President Joe Biden, saying he has had the “most disastrous first month of any president in modern history”.
Trump’s remarks came on the closing day of the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a popular forum for Republican White House aspirants to hawk their wares. It was held in Orlando, Florida.
“As you know, they just lost the White House,” said Trump, repeating his claim about the November election, as he set up his 2024 run for the US presidency.
“I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” Trump added, referring to his first win in 2016 and the defeat in 2020, which he continues to portray as a victory.
Trump, 74, remains a dominant figure for the Republicans despite the party losing the White House, the Senate and the House since 2018 on his watch.
As a straw poll of the attendees at the CPAC showed, he is the frontrunner for the party’s nomination for president by a wide margin.
Asked who they will vote for in a Republican primary for the 2024 nominee, 55% of the respondents picked Trump. Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a staunch Trump ally, finished a distant second at 21%, and South Dakota governor Kristi Noem was further behind with 4% for the third slot.
Nearly seven out of 10 respondents said they would like Trump to run again; 15% said they would not and 17% were unsure. An overwhelming 95% of the respondents said they wanted the party to pursue Trump’s agenda and policies and only 3% said the party needed to change course. The rest were unsure.
“We’re not starting new parties,” Trump told the attendees, refuting reports that were based on suggestions from his aides to counter Republicans who wanted the party to sever ties with him, appalled by his role in the January 6 Capitol riot that earned him the dubious distinction of being the only US president to be impeached twice.
“We have the Republican Party. It is going to unite and be stronger than ever before,” Trump said.
He named the 10 Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach him in the House on January 13, and the seven Republicans who voted to convict him in the Senate trial, which failed because it fell short of the two-third majority needed to go through.
“We cannot have leaders who show more passion for condemning their fellow Americans than they have ever shown for standing up to Democrats, the media and the radicals who want to turn America into a socialist country,” said Trump, calling for unity within the party.