Former President Donald Trump received mixed reactions from the political Right to his announcement Tuesday night that he was launching a third presidential campaign.
Trump made the announcement in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago estate in front of a crowd of supporters after he filed the federal paperwork required to run for president. His announcement came despite calls from top former aides, including Kayleigh McEnany and Jason Miller, to postpone his election announcement until after the U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia.
“My fellow citizens, America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump declared to a cheering crowd. “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
The reaction from Democrats, Left-wing activists, and the mainstream media was predictable: pandemonium, outrage, and panic.
However, this report focuses solely on the reaction from conservatives, which was fairly split between two main camps: Die-hard Trump supporters who are ready for more and a growing number of people who are ready for change.
One of the surprising chief complaints of Trump’s speech was that he seemed to have lower energy than he has in the past.
When Trump announced his first campaign for president in 2015, he had just turned 69 years old, and he immediately directed his attacks at the front runner at that point, Jeb Bush, who he labeled “low energy.” Trump, now 76 years old, would be going on 79 years old by the time he would be inaugurated if he were to win the 2024 presidential election.
Watch DeSantis election night speech and compare it to this lame effort. Wow.
— Scott Jennings (@ScottJenningsKY) November 16, 2022
A senior Republican official texts their response to Trump’s 2024 announcement: pic.twitter.com/gNgp6shj9p
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) November 16, 2022
I've seen Trump more fired up at random ceremonial events while covering him at the White House than he appears tonight https://t.co/NETPwwxpJ3
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) November 16, 2022
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) November 16, 2022
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) November 16, 2022
This is one of the most low-energy, uninspiring speeches I’ve ever heard from Trump. Even the crowd seems bored. Not exactly what you want when announcing a presidential run.
— Sarah Matthews (@SarahAMatthews1) November 16, 2022
Trump Season 2 just doesn’t have the freshness and spontaneity of the original. Unless the writers have some new ideas to keep this interesting, it’s going to be more like a lame remake rather than a worthy sequel
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) November 16, 2022
Others criticized things that Trump said, things that Trump left out of his speech, or just indicated their desire to move on:
Trump midterms: "232 wins and 22 losses."
The losses included Senate races in PA, AZ, NV, and NH. And governors in AZ, PA, and MI.
Wins included dog catcher in Pahrump, AZ.
Not the same thing. And people know it.
— Mick Mulvaney (@MickMulvaney) November 16, 2022
Would take the "swift execution for drug dealers" Trump pitch more seriously if the First Step Act weren't 1 of his admin's 2 legislative wins & he hadn't resisted calls to get the Guard out to stop the country from being lit on fire in Summer 2020. And yes I said so at the time.
— Inez Stepman ⚪️🔴⚪️ (@InezFeltscher) November 16, 2022
So over the last two years Trump has demanded Republicans humiliate themselves by endorsing his stolen-election nonsense and in his announcement tonight he didn't even mention it
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) November 16, 2022
In order to win, Trump needs to bring some fresh new ideas to the table. Really sell it to people weary of him.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 16, 2022
There are NeverTrumpers, ForeverTrumpers, and OverTrumpers.
I’m in the third category.
— BowTiedRanger (@BowTiedRanger) November 16, 2022
Others liked some of the things that he said during his speech:
Donald Trump says he will abolish every Joe Biden covid mandate and re-hire all military who were fired for refusing the covid shot, provide full back pay, and apologize for their firing. Love this.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 16, 2022
Doesn’t mean we need a redo. But this myth that Trump withdrew from the world stage or refused to engage or whatever just isn’t true. He constantly threatened the use of force. And he used it.
— Rebeccah Heinrichs (@RLHeinrichs) November 16, 2022
Death penalty for drug dealers is one of the best suggestions Trump has ever had
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) November 16, 2022
Thought it was a good speech. Way too long and boring but it was a smart message for 2024: “Life was better under me than it is under Biden.”
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) November 16, 2022
Others cheered on the former president:
He would be an amazing president. The only question is, can he beat the odds for a second time? Can he unite the GOP again? One thing I've learned, never count out Donald J Trump.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) November 16, 2022
Trump 2024 🇺🇸
— Johnny Damon (@JohnnyDamon) November 16, 2022
President Trump is coming BACK!
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) November 16, 2022
Trump’s new campaign comes after two years of Democrats controlling the White House and Congress, a unified government that helped fuel decades-high inflation and gas prices and historic levels of illegal immigration on the southern border. The Biden administration, notably, botched high-profile foreign policy decisions, including the withdrawal from Afghanistan — which fell to the Taliban almost immediately — and failed to completely end the COVID pandemic after promising to shut down the virus.
Trump’s allies say he is the best choice for the party’s nomination because he has already held the office and accomplished numerous feats during his administration, including strength on foreign policy, energy independence, a strong economy, a military that was being revamped and retooled for the wars of tomorrow, and his success in getting three conservative justices on the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court justices have been a particular high point for conservatives, particularly following the demise of Roe v. Wade in the summer.
Trump was largely considered to be the favorite for the Republican nomination heading into the 2024 cycle, and the day before the midterm elections — when Republicans were largely expected to easily ride a red wave into the majority in the House and Senate — he strongly hinted that his 2024 announcement would come the following week.
But a poor showing by Republicans and some of Trump’s high-profile handpicked candidates, combined with Trump’s subsequent attacks on fellow Republicans, has led to some in the party cooling on him in post-election polling.
One poll, commissioned by the Club For Growth, found that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had overtaken Trump 48% to 37% in Iowa, 52% to 37% in New Hampshire, 56% to 30% in Florida, and 55% to 35% in Georgia. Trump had previously led DeSantis in all of those states, as recently as just a few months ago, in that same poll.
A separate poll, conducted by CWS Research, found that DeSantis is now up over Trump in the state of Texas by 11 points. Last month, Trump led DeSantis by 17 points.
Only one former president, Grover Cleveland, has won the presidency for two non-consecutive terms, and it’s unclear what kind of primary field Trump might face. Speculated primary opponents include DeSantis, as well as some who served in the Trump administration, including former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. None of them have said whether they plan to run for president.
Trump’s announcement also comes amidst a criminal investigation into the way he handled U.S. government records after leaving the White House. A former employee of Trump’s reportedly told federal investigators that Trump instructed him to move boxes of records “within his Florida residence after receiving a government subpoena demanding their return,” Reuters reported.