Former U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off his 2024 White House bid with stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina, while brushing aside criticism that his campaign had gotten off to a slow start.
Speaking to party leaders at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s annual convention in Salem, the former president insisted he had the will to win as he announced his third White House bid in November. power.
“We start here as a presidential candidate,” he announced. “I’m angrier and more engaged now than I’ve ever been before.”
In contrast to Trump’s often raucous rallies in front of thousands of worshipers, Saturday’s event was remarkably quiet.
In Columbia, South Carolina, Mr. Trump addressed a crowd of about 200 at the state capitol, flanked by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Sen. Lindsey Graham.
The lackluster start to Mr Trump’s campaign has left some questioning his resolve to run again – but he has dismissed such speculation, saying “we plan to have massive rallies, bigger than ever”.
Once the undisputed center of gravity of the GOP, more and more elected officials say
Concerns over Trump’s ability to defeat Democratic President Joe Biden.
Several Republicans are considering whether to launch their own White House bid, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as the biggest threat to Trump.
Senior Republicans in the two states the former president has visited — including New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — are weighing their own bids.
At both stops on Saturday, Trump repeated some themes from his 2016 campaign, including harsh criticism of the U.S.-Mexico border and illegal immigration from China.
But he also highlighted social issues, perhaps in response to Mr. DeSantis, whose relentless focus on the culture wars helped build his national profile.
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In Colombia, the former president said: “We want to stop the radical racists of the left and the perverts who are trying to indoctrinate our youth, and we want to get their Marxism out of the hands of our children.
“We want to defeat the worship of gender ideology and reaffirm that God created two genders: man and woman. We will not allow men to participate in women’s sports.”
Mr Trump also hinted at his claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, calling the poll “ridiculous”.