Trump Announces 2024 Run

Covering the coverage.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In 2016, many rightly accuse the American press—particularly CNN and other non-Fox television networks but also the prestige print outlets—of treating Donald Trump’s campaign for President as a lark, giving him tons of free coverage to spread his lunacy. As he announces a third bid for the office, some outlets are going comically overboard to avoid accusations of normalizing the former President.

WaPo (“Trump, who as president fomented an insurrection, says he is running again“)

Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, officially declared on Tuesday night that he is running to retake the White House in 2024.

The announcement at his Florida Mar-a-Lago Club came in a moment of political vulnerability for Trump as voters resoundingly rejected his endorsed candidates in last week’s midterm elections. Since then, elected Republicans have been unusually forthright in blaming Trump for the party’s underperformance and potential rivals are already openly plotting challenging Trump for the nomination.

Trump has been eager to reclaim the spotlight and pressure Republicans to line up behind him, inviting prominent party leaders to his launch event and keeping track of who attended. Advisers spent much of the year lobbying Trump to hold off announcing until after the midterms, arguing that he might motivate Democratic voters or get drowned out by election news. He finally agreed to promise a “very big announcement” for Tuesday, and stuck with that plan despite further efforts to convince him to wait until after next month’s runoff for a Georgia Senate seat.

A defeated former president running for election again while facing potential criminal indictment is unprecedented in U.S. history. Trump becomes the first former president to run again since Theodore Roosevelt, and the first since Grover Cleveland to do so after losing reelection. He is the only president to be impeached twice, and the only one impeached by a bipartisan vote.

NPR (“Donald Trump, who tried to overturn Biden’s legitimate election, launches 2024 bid“):

Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep himself in power, announced he is running again for president in 2024.

“I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump, 76, said flanked by massive American flags, at his Mar-a-Lago club and home in Palm Beach, Fla.

The announcement — and official filing — comes just a week after the 2022 midterm elections, which saw a lackluster performance from Trump-backed Republican candidates in key Senate races and competitive House elections. As a result, Democrats were able to retain control of the Senate.

“America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump said, claiming, “Your country is being destroyed before your eyes.”

The dark vision hearkened back to Trump’s inauguration speech of a country suffering “American carnage” and in need of him to fix it.

Trump running sets up a potential rematch against President Joe Biden, who will turn 80 on Sunday and says he intends to run for reelection in 2024.

NBC News (“Trump, whose lies about the 2020 election inspired an insurrection, announces third White House bid“):

Donald Trump, the only president impeached twice, launched a campaign to reclaim the Oval Office on Tuesday, two years after voters ousted him and a week after they rejected his hand-picked candidates in several pivotal Senate races.

“America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump said from the ballroom of his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he was joined by members of his family and prominent supporters such as political operative Roger Stone, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and former Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

“We have always known that this was not the end. It was only the beginning of our fight to rescue the American dream,” Trump said, adding a twist to his trademark slogan: “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”

Trump promised the future would resemble the past if he is elected, and his speech rehashed scores of old grievances and conspiracies: The FBI is corrupt and out to get him; the voting system is rife with fraud. He littered his address with inaccuracies, some old, some new.

He also vowed to repeal President Joe Biden’s initiatives to address climate change and immigration. He credited himself with creating a strong economy and ripped Biden over inflation.

Others are more subdued.

AP (“Trump seeks White House again amid GOP losses, legal probes“):

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched his third campaign for the White House just one week after a disappointing midterm showing for Republicans, forcing the party to again decide whether to embrace a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 sparked an insurrection and pushed American democracy to the brink.

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said before an audience of several hundred supporters in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood flanked by American flags and banners bearing his “Make America Great Again” slogan.

CNN (“Former President Donald Trump announces a White House bid for 2024“):

Former President Donald Trump, aiming to become only the second commander-in-chief ever elected to two nonconsecutive terms, announced Tuesday night that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

ABC News (“Trump announces 3rd bid for White House“):

Former President Donald Trump has officially announced he is running for president in 2024, marking his third bid for the White House.

Saying “We are a nation in decline” and “America’s comeback starts right now,” Trump made the announcement Tuesday night in an address from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The announcement, which Trump had been hinting at for months, comes as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil investigations and as his party is grappling with a worse-than-expected showing in the midterm elections, raising questions about the former president’s power over the GOP.

NYT, oddly, doesn’t seem to have a straight up report on the announcement at all and instead offers a live blog and a montage of commentary.

The press are in a tight spot. Even by the standards of far right governors like Rick DeSantis, Trump is not a normal politician and treating him as though he were ill serves the public. But there’s still a line between reporting and editorializing that many of the above story cross. If every story about Trump over the next two years seeks to remind readers that he tried to steal the 2020 election, I suspect that it will have the opposite of the desired effect, simply turning that fact into background noise.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2024, Media, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. drj says:

    Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol

    How is this editorializing?

    Serious question.

    All of this is both 100% true and completely relevant.

    Why is it so hard to face the facts?

    ETA:

    Ignoring relevant facts is not what a self-described “dispassionate analyst” would do.

    Just saying.

    17
  2. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Trump could well duplicate Cleveland twice. He’s already the second candidate to run for non-consecutive terms; now he only has to win again to be the next Grover Cleveland. Fun times.

    ETA: Unfortunately, “cult 47” has no popular culture connections. What will the detractors do?

  3. Kathy says:

    I guess the Cheeto hasn’t lost enough elections.

    Remember after he loses in November 2024, he’ll do everything to lose multiple times in the courts.

  4. James Joyner says:

    @drj: The recitation of facts that have no bearing on the news is editorializing, not reporting.

    “Joe Biden, who nearly failed out of law school for plagiarism, announced today that he was forgiving millions in student loans” would be a completely accurate statement. It would also be editorializing, no?

    Readers of the Washington Post know who Trump is. They know he has been impeached. They know about his role in the Capitol riots. They’re not facts that go into the lede, much less the headline, of a story about a 2024 run.

    4
  5. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    It would also be editorializing, no?

    Now you’re just playing silly games.

    In your imaginary headline, you are describing two events that have no bearing upon each other. Did Biden’s plagiarism inspire him to run for president in order to make life easier for lazy students half a century on?

    Will Trump lawlessly abuse his power if he wins the 2024 presidential election?

    Please be serious.

    9
  6. James Joyner says:

    @drj: News reporting is about telling us what’s new. The new thing is that Trump has announced that he’s running and he said X, Y, and Z. That’s reporting. Bringing in past facts for context (he’s the first President to run for re-election after being defeated since Cleveland) is analysis. Stating one’s opinions (“fomented an insurrection”) as fact is editorializing.

    That “Trump [will] lawlessly abuse his power if he wins the 2024 presidential election” is an opinion, not news. It’s one I happen to share. It’s still not news.

    @drj: I’ve been pretty clear, going back to at least 2015, of what I think of Trump. I can separate that from my analysis of the press coverage.

    5
  7. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    I guess the Cheeto hasn’t lost enough elections.

    Well if he’s the nominee again then no matter what the outcome it’s a good bet he’ll go down in history as the first president to lose the popular vote three times.

    2
  8. Hal_10000 says:

    The GOP sold their soul in 2016. And even though the check bounced, Trump still has their soul. If he wins Iowa, they’ll all fall in line and pretend J6 never happened.

    7
  9. Jim Brown says:

    The Republican party will try to discard Trump now that he’s less useful to him. Democrats can’t let them yet.

    Trumpism will only die if he wins the nomination and loses the general election. Else, it will continue to have a ‘lost cause’ presence in the Party which will prevent it from reinventing itself.

    In a Trump DeSantis showdown, I dont see how RD stands on his own to scintillate the RW Media Establishment that drives the Base.

    RW is actually boring. He got run as a purveyor of Trumpian political tactics but has no charisma or entertaining qualities of his own. He’s closer to Chris Christie than to Trump.

    Time to foment a little trouble for Ron…. bring on the flood of Polls that show him ahead of Trump for the nomination! [throws Jiffy Pop in microwave for 2:54]

    1
  10. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown:

    He’s closer to Chris Christie than to Trump.

    Well, if you compare the first governor to ban gay conversion therapy with the first to ban trans-affirming health care, then yeah.

    (Actually, I think Christie has charisma. Seriously.)

    In any case, if DeSantis or anyone else somehow beats Trump in the primary, there is no way in hell Trump would get behind him in the general election. It’s a virtual certainty he’d claim the result was fraudulent. While I think he’s too lazy and broke to launch a third-party bid, the GOP would still wind up with a critically fractured party.

    The GOP had better hope he keels over in the next few years from one too many hamberders.

    4
  11. Argon says:

    Well, now we’ll have to see if our justice system holds up and can indict a Presidential candidate while running for office.

    1
  12. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    Stating one’s opinions (“fomented an insurrection”) as fact is editorializing.

    That Trump fomented an insurrection is a fact. Not only did he foment it, it was planned in advance, as the findings of the January 6 Committee prove beyond the remotest shadow of a doubt.

    5
  13. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner:

    News reporting is about telling us what’s new. The new thing is that Trump has announced that he’s running and he said X, Y, and Z. That’s reporting.

    Well, by this definition, the press shouldn’t have covered the Mar-a-Lago event at all. Trump has never stopped campaigning and he always rants the same word salad, so nothing new happened yesterday.

    I, for one, never want to hear another word about Trump until he’s either re-elected or put in prison. Trump bloviating and the public rubber-necking his tantrums is just the same old same old.

    7
  14. James Joyner says:

    @Mikey: I’ve been clear from Day 1 that I believe Trump bore responsibility for the Capitol Riots and agree that the Jan 6 Committee has demonstrated that beyond a reasonable doubt. (See “Trump Ordered the Code Red“) Yet, while he was impeached by the House and a majority of Senators voted him guilty—which, as a political act of censorship, I supported— it’s highly unlikely he’s actually guilty of insurrection or even incitement under the actual law of the land.

    Regardless, “impeached for incitement of insurrection” is a statement of fact while “fomented an insurrection” is an opinion.

    See my posts “‘Inciting Insurrection’ Impeachment Articles Against Trump Introduced” and “If It Was an Insurrection, Why Hasn’t Anyone Been Charged with ‘Insurrection’?” for more detailed explanations.

    4
  15. KM says:

    @James Joyner:

    Stating one’s opinions (“fomented an insurrection”) as fact is editorializing.

    Is this the “history is written by the winners” definition? That because the GOP has successfully managed to keep him from prosecution, we’re supposed to honor “innocent until proven guilty” in public life despite the monument of evidence and the fact we watched it happen in real time
    The plain and simple fact is Jan 6th would NOT have happened without Trump egging them on. There’s always idiots and their plots but they rarely try and they NEVER try to this scale without someone actively rally them to the cause.

    That’s not editorializing, it’s stating the fact that Trump did the fact but has yet to be convicted of it in a court of law. True, it’s not exactly “new” news but it seems every day, some Republican is waking up to the news that yeah, this narcissist’s gonna keep ruining their party’s chances so “OMG, did you know he fomented an insurrection?” It’s the same energy as a smoker have been in denial for 30 years about those damn libs lying and faking evidence only to find out they’ve got stage 4 cancer and “did you know the damn cigarette companies lied to us for years?! We should sue!!” That statement is news to someone this morning, especially if they want DeSantis as President and they realize what Trump’s run will mean.

    7
  16. James Joyner says:

    @KM: See my previous reply to @Mikey. My position is nuanced but I think these distinctions matter.

    4
  17. James Joyner says:

    @Scott F.: The problem is that, like it or not—and I decidedly do not—Trump is the odds-on frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination and therefore the second most likely person, behind Joe Biden, to be President on January 21, 2025. His announcement is, therefore, newsworthy.

    5
  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think that rather than quibbling over whether something constitutes editorializing or not, I would rather address the question of “does repeating this stuff over and over actually help?”.

    I don’t think so. The constant repetition is necessary if you are trying to propagate a lie. Truth doesn’t need that. But constant harping on Trump is playing his game. What Democrats need to do is tell their story. (While getting popcorn to watch the Republican war, of course). How they have made things better. What they will do to help. And so on.

    6
  19. Mimai says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    While getting popcorn

    Et tu, Jay?

  20. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner:
    Editorializing in news coverage is what bothers you. Substance-less entertainment coverage masquerading as news is what bothers me.

    Sadly, you are likely to get less of what bothers you as this cycle proceeds and the press bows to pressure to normalize Trump again. More sadly, I won’t be able to avoid the spectacular sh!tshow.

    3
  21. charon says:

    Trump is the odds-on frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination

    Which is your opinion, not a fact. Predictit says otherwise, as do I.

    1
  22. becca says:

    I went to Memeorandum and clicked on all the righty sites to gauge the response to the announcement. Not one was enthusiastic and most were downright hostile to the idea.
    I suppose the Lucianne fans and their ilk are still rapturous, but the the cracks in the dam are widening at a seemingly accelerated rate.

    2
  23. CSK says:

    A lot of pundits have commented on how tired/bored/dispirited Trump seemed last night. I wonder if his lack of animation or enthusiasm was because he wasn’t speaking to his normal raucous, vulgar rally-goers but instead a relatively civilized group, and that made him uncertain and uncomfortable.

    2
  24. CSK says:

    @becca:

    Most of the Lucianne.com devotees seem to be rapturous.

    1
  25. drj says:

    @Mikey:

    That Trump fomented an insurrection is a fact.

    While this might be true, the funny thing is that the WaPo doesn’t even go as far as that:

    Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol

    “To inspire” is, of course, something that doesn’t require active knowledge of, let alone active participation in what is going on (as opposed to “to foment”).

    But even this exceedingly careful and indisputably factual language is too much for some people.

    While we are allowed to know that Trump is an active threat to the rule of law, this is “not news” and therefore must only be mentioned in the editorial section – so that it can be more easily dismissed with a nod to “the liberal media.”

    Makes bothsiderism so much easier.

    4
  26. drj says:

    @drj:

    And specifically for @James Joyner I would like to add that now you know (or should know) why the right-wing talking heads couldn’t shut up about the evils of editorializing of news reporting (by the liberal media, of course) back in the nineties and aughts.

    You fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

    5
  27. Mikey says:

    @AdamSerwer

    it is very funny that they’re out here arguing that it’s unfair to frame Trump’s announcement around his attempt to overthrow the government last time he ran

    5
  28. gVOR08 says:

    Licht, the new guy at CNN, says he’s going to return to a focus on straight news. If he does, I have no problem with that. (The problem, of course, is that given the new ownership no one believes him.) The drive to peddle papers has driven them to make news more entertaining by adding opinion. And most of the media’s opinion is pedestrian and repetitive.

    So I agree with James on this. That Trump is a seditionist still lying about the election is context that should be mentioned in the article, and prominently. As should the more telling context that he thinks this could protect him from prosecution. But not in the headline. (Admittedly a fine distinction.) That he declared is news. That he is still an asshole is context. I do note that on the WAPO website the story is well down the page, after the Opinion stuff. Out of curiosity I looked online at the print edition. It’s front page above the fold, but one of four equally prominent stories. And they use the more muted headline “Trump ignores party’s pleas, launches his bid”. I fear the headlines James quotes reinforce the right’s perception of the press bias.

    In 2016 they were cheerfully using Trump and made up scandals about Hillary as clickbait and ended up getting the asshole elected. It’s good they seem to have learned something from that. But instead of flipping the game and rooting against Tump as clickbait I’d rather they change the game. Less horse race, more objective reality. But research and reporting are expensive, bloviating is cheap.

    1
  29. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/AdamSerwer/status/1408835686933925888

    A few years ago I wrote an essay titled “The Cruelty Is The Point” on Trump’s approach to politics and policy. On Tuesday, my book sharing that title is being published. Today in the
    @nytimes
    , I explain why Trumpist politics didn’t end with his defeat.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/26/opinion/trump-republican-party.html

  30. James Joyner says:

    @drj: Until the Trump era, it was Journalism School 101 that reporting and opinion were separate things. I get that treating Trump as though he were simply a normal politician is problematic. But the average reader of the NYT, WaPo, or WSJ damn well knows the broad facts of the 2020 election, the Capitol Riot, and the like. They have pretty strong opinions on Trump’s trustworthiness. It’s neither necessary nor useful to editorialize news reporting on Trump.

    1
  31. James Joyner says:

    @Mikey: I’m not arguing that it’s “unfair” but that it’s editorializing rather than reporting.

    1
  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    @James Joyner:

    Until the Trump era, it was Journalism School 101 that reporting and opinion were separate things.

    They started bleeding together years before Trump stepped into the political scene. When newspapers started going digital–and it became about clicks, not circulation–things began to shift rather quickly.

    3
  33. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner: Is it, though? Or is it important context, without which the reporting is incomplete?

    3
  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: And, potentially anyway, be the first President elected twice having lost the popular vote both times. 🙁

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: Ayup!

    1
  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Argon: Magic 8 ball says “Things look bad.”

  37. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    And, potentially anyway, be the first President elected twice having lost the popular vote both times.

    Yes. There was a significant chance of that happening in 2020 already. He was much closer to winning the electoral vote (or even getting 269-269 and then being elected by the House delegations) than he was to closing Biden’s 4.5-point gap in the popular vote.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: “Think” being the operative word in your sentence. You “think” one thing. They “think” something else. Your sides disagree. You should all leave it at that and move on. You’ve both made your cases to the lurkers, too.

    While I’m here, I’ll note that in your first double-down, you noted, “That ‘Trump [will] lawlessly abuse his power if he wins the 2024 presidential election’ is an opinion, not news.” On this point, you are right. The speaker is making a conjecture. He’s also holding what is, to him, an article of faith. You can’t argue people’s faiths–no matter what Evangelicals believe about that.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: And you said the same thing I just did, only more eloquently. If’ I’d only read a couple more posts. 🙁

  40. CSK says:

    Here’s how the NYPost handled Trump’s speech last night.

    “Florida Man Makes Announcement.”

    On page 26.

    2
  41. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    NY Post website top story
    “Done with Don
    ‘Not a f’ing nickel’: GOP megadonors abandon Trump 2024 White House run”

    Announcement coverage
    “Little fanfare Big-name no-shows, tech troubles mar Trump ’24 campaign launch”

    LoL

    1
  42. CSK says:

    According to the NYTimes, Trump won’t be hiring a campaign manager for this go-round.

    I can’t imagine any halfway decent one being willing to work for him.

  43. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/DrewLinzer/status/1593003203297431552

    Remarkable. The 2022 election sent Trump’s favorable rating from an already low 38% down to 33%.

    Among Republicans, Trump’s favorable rating went from 81% to 71%, the lowest it’s been since before the 2016 election.