Cautiousness, excitement, indifference: the US reacts to Trump’s campaign

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Washington, D.C. – When Donald Trump announced his third candidacy for the US presidency, a political scene still recovering from months of midterm campaigns turned its attention to the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Democrats were quick to remind their audiences of the tumult and what they call “failures” of the Trump years, and cracks in Republican support for the former president became more prominent. While many far-right Republicans rushed to support Trump, some conservative news outlets and commentators warned the GOP not to rally behind him.

The announcement came late Tuesday as Trump’s Republican Party struggled with its disappointing performance in the midterm elections under the former president’s de facto leadership.

“Florida man makes announcement,” read a headline at the bottom of the front page of the New York Post, a conservative tabloid that supported Trump for years. News of the announcement was buried on page 26.

The National Review, another conservative publication, published an editorial titled “No.” The article described Trump’s presidential bid as an “invitation to double down on the wrongdoings and failures of recent years, which Republicans should reject without hesitation or doubt.”

Since running for president in the 2016 race, Trump had all but purged the Republican Party of its critics — endorsing primary challengers to his GOP rivals in Congress and pushing others to retire.

The Republican Party had become synonymous with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) populist movement.

But after last week’s midterm vote — in which numerous Trump-backed candidates lost key races, costing Republicans the chance to control Congress — many in the party began to disengage from the former president. His Tuesday night announcement of a presidential run reinforced that trend.

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“We need more seriousness, less noise and leaders who look ahead, don’t stare in the rearview mirror and claim victimhood,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination, wrote on Twitter in a cloaked photo of Trump.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, told reporters Wednesday that the “world has changed significantly” in recent weeks, predicting that there will be other GOP candidates seeking the presidency in 2024.

“I will support the Republican nominee, but I don’t know if it will be him,” Cornyn said.

While some conservatives ran in the opposite direction of Trump’s campaign, the Democrats went on the offensive.

President Joe Biden shared a video — titled “Donald Trump has failed America” — with unflattering news clips from his predecessor, including Trump saying there were “fine people on both sides” following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that was confronted protestors in 2017.

Biden’s campaign later sent an email to supporters asking for donations to the Democratic National Committee in response to Trump’s announcement.

“This team defeated Donald Trump just over two years ago. It wasn’t a fluke,” he said. “Trump pitted neighbors against neighbors. He manipulated the economy for the rich. He left a mess. But a dedicated base of millions of supporters… came together to donate, volunteer and vote in record numbers, and together we beat him.”

Biden has previously said he intends to run for re-election, but has not made his candidacy official.

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Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee called for a ban on Trump from seeking public office again, citing the January 6, 2021 attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol.

“The first time Trump ran, he claimed to be an outsider. Now the Emperor is out of clothes,” Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern wrote on Twitter.

McGovern added that the former president “screwed America to enrich itself” and suggested that the Democrats look forward to a rematch with Trump in 2024, writing: “Bring it.”

Congresswoman Lori Trahan also vowed to work to ensure Trump does not win the presidency. “Donald Trump only cares about one thing: himself. He divided our country to serve his political ambitions. He tried to overthrow our democracy when he lost an election. Now he wants to do it all over again,” she said in a social media post.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand echoed the congressman’s remarks. “Our country cannot handle another four years of Donald Trump chaos. But we’ve beaten Donald Trump before — and we’ll do it again,” she said in a tweet.

Despite his seemingly fading appeal, Trump received several endorsements from right-wing US lawmakers, including Republican House members Marjorie Taylor Greene and Elise Stefanik.

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“My friend Donald J. Trump has my full and utter support for the 2024 presidency,” Texas Congressman Troy Nehls, a Republican from Texas, wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “He is the leader of the Republican Party and we will make America great again!”

Kari Lake, a Trump-backed candidate who recently lost an Arizona gubernatorial race, also offered her “full and total endorsement” for the former president’s 2024 campaign.

The announcement of Trump’s presidential bid was the earliest for the 2024 season. It came some 15 months before the Iowa caucuses kicked off.

The timing led some of the former president’s critics to question whether he is trying to deviate from his legal issues. Trump faces several lawsuits and investigations, including a criminal investigation into his possible mishandling of classified government documents.

But the former president remains a private person, even as a candidate.

“For anyone who needs to hear this: Trump [sic] announcing that he is running for president has no legal effect on investigations. No one at DOJ [Department of Justice] I’ve seen that speech and torn up all the work they’ve done,” Biden’s former White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter.

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