Former US President Donald Trump has confirmed his bid for the country's top office in the 2024 presidential election, in a move which is likely to further divide the already fractured Republican Party and general American political landscape.
Trump's announcement comes after many candidates backed by him suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of their Democratic rivals in the recent US mid-terms, as well as reports that influential media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, has decided to support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — who was recently re-elected to the state's Governorship in a landslide victory — over Trump.
Trump has heavily criticised DeSantis in recent weeks — calling him 'Ron DeSanctimonious' — and has even threatened to release information about him should he decide to launch his own bid for the White House.
Trump's announcement means that he will attempt to become only the second person, after Stephen Grover Cleveland, to serve two non-consecutive terms as America's commander-in-chief.
A surprisingly conciliatory speech
In his speech, Trump, who is renowned for his divisive and even explosive political rhetoric, struck a surprisingly conciliatory tone, claiming to "love [people] on both sides" of the American political spectrum.
"The only force strong enough to defeat the massive corruption we are up against, is you, the American people," Trump said, in a speech delivered at his sprawling Mar-a-Lago residence in South Florida. "The American people are the greatest people on earth. We love them all. We love both sides. We're going to bring both sides together. We are going to unify people."
In more classic Trumpian style, the former reality TV star also praised the "incredible" achievements of his previous administration, called his political movement "the greatest in history", and, indulging in his penchant for demagoguery, claimed to represent "the voice" of the American electorate.
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In addition, Trump condemned the current US administration's political machinations, claiming that it has left "our country in a horrible state" and that America is "being destroyed before [our] very eyes".
In an unusually poetic final flourish, Trump said: "We can go very far. First we have to get out of this ditch. Once we get out you'll see things that nobody imagined for any country. It's called the United States of America, and it's an incredible place."
The former US president is still under investigation from a special US House Committee on the 6 January Capitol attack. On Monday, he missed a closed-door deposition with the panel, who are now weighing up the decision on whether to issue a contempt of Congress order against him.
In the short term, Trump's announcement will not affect the inquiry, the New York Times reports.