(CNSNews.com) – Donald Trump formally announced on Tuesday night that he is running for the White House in 2024, seeking a rare non-consecutive second term in the face of multiplying legal hurdles and a divided Republican establishment.
“In order to make America great and glorious again, tonight I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said, more than 20 minutes into a speech to supporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
He was speaking in front of a backdrop of large national flags, and behind a podium bearing the words “Make America Great Again! 2024.”
Declaring that “America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump in a wide ranging speech offered a searing critique of the Biden administration and its policies at home and abroad, describing the United States as a “nation in decline,” but one whose “golden age” lies ahead.
“Our country was great. Our country’s not great any more. Our country’s a laughing stock right now,” he said. “But our country can be greater than it ever was before – by a lot.”
Trump called the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 “perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country,” and claimed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February “would have never happened if I were your president.”
“Our enemies are speaking of us with scorn and laughter and derision because of those two events.”
Trump referred briefly to an incident Tuesday in which a missile – “Russia-made,” according to Poland – landed on Polish territory near the Ukraine border, killing two people.
“Even just today, a missile was sent in, probably by Russia, to Poland, 50 miles [sic] into Poland. And people are going absolutely wild and crazy, and they’re not happy,” he said. “They’re very, very angry.”
Speaking while President Biden was discussing the missile incident and Russian aggression with allies on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Trump said that the U.S. now has “a president who falls asleep at global conferences.”
He also mocked Biden for saying “thank you to the wrong country for inviting him to a major summit” – apparently a reference to Biden calling Cambodia “Colombia” in his opening remarks at the U.S.-ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Saturday.
“They fly for days to get there and then he calls the country a name that was actually a country on another continent,” Trump said.
Not shying away from controversy, Trump elsewhere in the speech referred again to the COVID-19 pathogen as the “China virus” and said that he had concluded a major trade deal with China “but after COVID I don’t even bother talking about it because the devastation that that caused for the entire world was too much to bear.”
Revisiting the disputes he had with Germany over its energy reliance on Russia, Trump said he had sent then-Chancellor Angela Merkel a “white flag of surrender,” and when she asked why, told her “you are getting 78 percent of your energy from Russia.”
“And when that happens history has proven that it’s not good for Germany,” he said. “What I didn’t know is it would take place so fast.”
Segueing to energy policy more broadly, Trump said China was opening a coal-fired plant every week, “and then they talk about all the things they’re doing environmentally.”
“They’re watching us die, with the Green New Deal, with our windmills and with our solar that doesn’t have the power to fire up our great factories and our great plants,” he said.
“They are watching us die and they are laughing.”
“We will launch an all-out campaign to eliminate America’s dependence on China,” Trump said. “We will bring our supply chains and manufacturing base back home.”
In Bali, a pool reporter asked Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron – who were taking part in a mangrove tree-planting event with G20 leaders shortly after the Russia/Ukraine-focused meeting – if they had a reaction to Trump’s 2024 announcement.
The reporter said Biden and Macron “looked at each other briefly and shared the faintest of smirks.”
“Not really,” POTUS said, before turning his attention back to the mangroves.
Macron did not offer a comment.