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Trump launches the 2024 US presidential election campaign

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Former US President Donald Trump launched his campaign to run for the 2024 elections in two states, as he launched his winning campaign in 2016.

Against political and legal headwinds, the 76-year-old Republican delivered a keynote address to grassroots activists and lawmakers in New Hampshire on Saturday, ahead of his keynote appearance at a rally in South Carolina.

“We need a leader who is prepared to stand up to the forces wreaking havoc on our country,” he told a crowd of several hundred at the New Hampshire Mall in Salem.

“We need a president who is ready to start working on day one.”

The events were seen as an opportunity to revitalize a faltering campaign amid criticism of Trump’s failure to appear in public since he announced he was last running in the November election.

But there was no discernible shift in his message as he immediately shot out his oft-debunked claims about the stolen 2020 election and brought back his derogatory titles to his political rivals.

His most divisive accusations are reserved for conservative pundits he refers to as “RINOs”—Republicans in name only—who he said are “more dangerous than Democrats.”

He touted his record on law and order, immigration, and the “rebuilding” of the US military as he vowed to save the country from “destruction at the hands of a selfish, radical, and corrupt political establishment.”

“I am angrier and more committed now than I have ever been,” Trump said.

The former real estate mogul is the only major candidate announced so far. However, several prominent Republicans have fueled speculation about potential competing bids amid reports of waning public support for the former president.

Trump was due to fly to Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, after Salem’s speech in the late afternoon. There he will unveil a leadership team and a new set of endorsements.

“Horrible, terrible people”

Both states hold sway as two of the first in each presidential election year to hold nominating contests—known as “primaries” or “caucuses,” depending on local customs.

They cemented Trump’s first-place finish in 2016 after a tepid start in Iowa.

But he has reportedly struggled to maintain a base of support in South Carolina amid angry discontent over his endorsement of candidates who lost swing state races in November’s midterm elections.

The nomination could end in a race between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who came out on top in a poll at the National Pro-Life Summit in Washington last weekend.

However, polling this early in the cycle hasn’t been particularly clear cut, with some hypothetical matchups showing Trump ahead of DeSantis and others suggesting the opposite would happen head-to-head.

Trump’s biggest obstacle to the nomination may be his mounting legal troubles, with a semi-independent “special counsel” appointed to look into several allegations of misconduct.

“These are far-left prosecutors and they are horrible people,” Trump said, vowing to investigate the Justice Department if they are re-elected.

It highlights his handling of classified documents found in an FBI raid of his beachfront mansion in Florida, his role in the 2021 uprising, and his attempts in Georgia to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election.

“One year from now, we’re going to win the New Hampshire primary,” Trump told the crowd.

“And then, with the help of the good people of the state—the love of the people—we shall take back our country, and we shall take back the White House, and we shall straighten the United States.”

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