Trump makes White House bid official; Arkansas elected officials mostly quiet

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 2,117 views 

As expected, former President Donald Trump on Tuesday (No. 15) announced he will seek the GOP nomination for U.S. president in 2024. The move, which was not welcome among a growing number of Republicans, received a muted response in Arkansas.

Trump, the first one-term president to lose a re-election bid since President George H.W. Bush in 1992, used what he called an “elegant night” to officially enter the 2024 presidential race. He repeatedly noted that he is running again to pursue “America first” policies in all segments of domestic and foreign policy, especially in the energy industry.

“In order to make America great again, I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” the former president said to applause from the audience gathered at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence.

Trump said the “radical left Democrats that are trying to destroying our country from within,” and more Americans will see how bad Democrats are doing by 2024 and return Republicans to power. He also predicted the nation’s Latino voters will pivot to Republicans and vote for him through the primaries and into 2024.

“Two years ago, we were a great nation, and soon we will be a great nation again. The decline of America is being forced upon us by Biden and the radical left lunatics running our government right into the ground. This decline is not a fate we must accept,” Trump said.

He also trotted out his familiar theme that the nation was doing great under his administration until China infected the world with COVID-19. Trump said if elected he will “immediately” address inflation, saying the inflation rate will return to the “perfect number of 1%” in a second Trump administration.

Trump, who was impeached twice by the U.S. House of Representatives but never found guilty by the U.S. Senate, faces a host of legal troubles. His alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is the focus of an investigation by a U.S. House special committee. Trump is also being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for White House documents found at his residence in Florida. There are other investigations at state and federal levels related to his finances, tax avoidance, and alleged efforts to intervene in 2020 election processes in Georgia.

President Biden received 81.283 million votes in the 2020 election compared to 74.223 million votes for Trump. Trump has never received a majority of the votes in his two presidential runs, with Hillary Clinton receiving 65.853 million votes compared to Trump’s 62.984 million votes in the 2016 election. However, Trump was able to win in enough states in 2016 to capture a win through the Electoral College. In his re-election bid in 2020, Trump has repeatedly said the election was stolen from him without offering proof.

Polls show Trump would be a front-runner for the 2024 nomination. He has consistently topped the preference list in several preliminary polls, but could face a challenge from Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, who also polls in double-digits. Other GOP contenders poll in low single-digits at this point in the campaign.

Arkansas Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as Trump’s White House press secretary and was endorsed by Trump in her gubernatorial bid, did not respond to a Talk Business & Politics request for comment. Members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation, who in the past have supported Trump, also did not respond to requests for comment on the former president’s announcement that he again will run for the White House. (Talk Business & Politics will update this story if any comments are provided.)

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, the father of Gov.-elect Sanders, said Trump’s speech was “pitch perfect” and if Trump stays on message addressing issues he will be “unbeatable” in the race for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is mulling a bid to seek the GOP nomination for president, said it’s important for new Republican voices to emerge.

“As we expect an announcement from Mar-a-Lago tonight, it is important to welcome new voices and ides for our future. I intend to be one of those leaders working for solutions to the serious challenges ahead,” the governor said prior to Trump’s address.

After Trump’s announcement, Gov. Hutchinson was more pointed in a Twitter post.

“Trump is correct on Biden’s failures, but his self-indulging message promoting anger has not changed. It didn’t work in 2022 and won’t work in 2024. There are better choices,” the governor posted.