WASHINGTON: Former US president Donald Trump returned to the US capital this week and delivered a speech that’s being interpreted as his first for the 2024 election campaign.
“As Trump speaks in Washington, his allies prepare for a second term,” The Washington Post reported. “Trump supporters are already working on a government-in-waiting if he wins re-election in 2024.”
Mr Trump, who left Washington in January 2021, without attending his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration, stayed away from the US capital till this week. He returned on Tuesday to speak at a think-tank — the American First Policy Institute — that he founded.
CNN, which strongly opposed Mr Trump during his first term, noted that the speech showed “his 2024 campaign would take the country down a dark and dangerous road”.
“I always say I ran the first time and I won, then I ran a second time and I did much better,” AFP quoted Trump as saying. “We may just have to do it again. We have to straighten out our country.”
The Guardian noted that Mr Trump “stopped short of outright declaring his candidacy,” but he did say that it would be his “very great honour” to run again, and that if he didn’t “our nation is doomed”.
The Post reported that in his “dystopian speech,” Mr Trump encouraged “tough, nasty and mean” responses to violent crime and the forcible relocation of homeless people to quickly-built tent cities in the suburbs.
Another Washington news source, Politico, hinted at the possibility of “a Biden-Trump rematch” in 2024 but noted that “neither side wants to move first”. Mr Trump said if he ran, he would not do so for personal gratification. “I’m not doing this for me because I had a very luxurious life. I had a very simple life. I do it because I love our country,” he said.