There seems to be little remaining doubt that Donald Trump is eyeing a return to the White House. The former president has hinted at another run several times in one way or another, but on Thursday he gave the most direct indication that he will put himself forward for the Republican ticket in 2024. An official announcement is not expected before the November 8 midterm elections, which places Trump’s party ahead in the polls in the race for control of Congress.
On Thursday, Trump was speaking at a rally in Iowa during the final stretch of campaigning ahead of the midterms in Sioux City, Iowa. “I ran twice. I won twice, and did much better the second time than I did the first, getting millions more votes in 2020 than I got in 2016,” he told the crowd. “And likewise, getting more votes than any sitting president in the history of our country by far. And now in order to make our country successful, and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again.”
“Get ready, that’s all I’m telling you, very soon. Get ready,” Trump added to cheers.
United States electoral legislation places individuals who officially proclaim themselves candidates under a series of restrictions on financing. That goes some way to explaining why neither Trump nor US President Joe Biden have yet taken the definitive step. For his part, Biden has limited himself to stating only that it is his “intention” to run for re-election.
Midterms provide platform for Trump
Initially, many in the Republican Party did not want Trump to enjoy center stage during a midterms campaign they view as largely won and preferred to delay any announcement that could distract voters from the task at hand until after the November 8 ballot. But the former president was thrust back into the spotlight when his Mar-a-Lago home was searched by the FBI after it emerged he had been keeping classified documents at the Florida residence. Since the beginning of September, Trump has been attending rallies at a rate of one a week and his presence has increased going into the final straight.
Many of the Republican candidates running in the midterms have been endorsed by Trump and there is a lot at stake in the campaign for the former president. “If some of the candidates that Trump has endorsed, like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Herschel Walker in Georgia, or Blake Masters in Arizona, get good results, Trump will view it it as a positive referendum on him,” says Libby Cantrill, Head of US Public Policy at PIMCO.
Trump made his appearance in Iowa a day after Biden spoke of American democracy being “under attack” due to the refusal of Trump and his supporters to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election while clinging to the “Big Lie” that the White House had been stolen from them.
During his rallies, Trump has launched political and personal attacks against Biden. He did so again in Iowa, a staunchly Republican state where there is little question of a Democratic swing this weekend, and as such his presence there could be interpreted as a form of campaigning for his own bid for the Republican primary nomination.
“The Iowa way of life is under siege, and it is a great way of life. Biden and the far-left lunatics are waging war on Iowa farmers, crushing American energy, attacking Iowa ethanol, and strangling Iowa families with soaring prices,” Trump told supporters. “There has never been a president that has been better to farmers or better to Iowa than Trump.”
Trump took the stage in Iowa with the State Senator Chuck Grassley, 89, whose re-election is practically guaranteed. Grassly has been winning elections in Iowa since the age of 26 and is seeking an eighth six-year term, having first been elected as senator in 1980, in the same elections when Ronald Reagan became US president.