Donald Trump has announced his third straight presidential bid, in an extremely rare attempt by a former US leader to recapture the White House after losing an election.
The speech, which clocked in at more than an hour, was largely a mix of boasts about his presidential record and attacks on the first two years of Joe Biden’s presidency.
On display were some of Trump’s continued strengths. He has an unmatched sense of which issues are important to grass-roots conservatives, such as immigration and crime.
His unpredictable and inflammatory style can drive news coverage and deny the spotlight to his competitors. He has a base of loyal supporters and can motivate typically unengaged Americans to vote. And after four years in office, many of those supporters hold positions of authority within the Republican Party.
But his speech also highlighted some of Trump’s key weaknesses.
He glossed over the hardships and missteps during the Covid pandemic and totally ignored his months of election denial that culminated in the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
He attempted to defend the Republican Party’s tepid performance in last week’s midterm election and his support for losing candidates, which has led to growing criticism from conservative ranks.
Trump said the task ahead was not one for a “conventional candidate”, but for a movement of millions of people – his movement, his people and his campaign.