Even the Tea Party isn’t fully behind former President Donald Trump, as one of the movement’s founders, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chair Jenny Beth Martin, said her influentual group wouldn’t weigh in to the 2024 race until the Georgia runoff had concluded.
Martin said Trump’s success as president was ‘undeniable,’ adding, ‘We need a proven conservative leader as the Republican nominee in 2024, and as president beyond that, to repair the damage done to our country by Joe Biden.’
‘We will concern ourselves with the 2024 presidential nominating process sometime after the Georgia Senate runoff is over,’ she then said.
With some family members and the MAGA faithful at his side, Trump announced Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago that he was seeking the Republican nomination again.
Tea Party groups had previously backed Trump, after first coming on the political scene to help the Republican Party crush the Democrats in the 2010 midterms.
The Tea Party’s main issue was the national debt, something they used effectively against Democratic President Barack Obama two years into his administration.
Trump’s MAGA-movement candidates failed to have the same impact, with Democrats retaining control of the Senate and Republicans barely able to flip the House in the 2022 midterms.
With some family members and the MAGA faithful at his side, Trump announced Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago that he was seeking the Republican nomination again
Prominent Tea Party leader Jenny Beth Martin (pictured in 2016) said her group would wait until after the December Georgia runoff to weigh into the 2024 GOP nominating process
During his Tuesday night address, Trump said ‘in four short years everybody was doing great,’ and characterized the U.S. under Democratic President Joe Biden as a country in ‘pain, hardship, anxiety and despair.’
‘In order to make America great and glorious again, I am today announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,’ the ex-president proclaimed about 20 minutes into his speech.
‘I am running because I believe the world has yet seen the true glory this nation can be,’ he added.
Trump’s announcement now stretches the 2024 presidential campaign to a two-year period and came before the 2022 midterms were even wrapped up.
A number of Republicans questioned the timing – exactly one week after the midterms – as the GOP could still pick up a Senate seat in Georgia, should Republicans there back Herschel Walker over Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in an early December runoff.
‘But quite honestly it would have been better, I think, had he said “I’m going to make a big announcement, but first I’m going to go to Georgia and make sure Herschel Walker wins that race and I’m going to ask every Republican to go all in,”‘ said former GOP Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Newsmax Tuesday night.
Huckabee added that he did not know ‘one person, and I’m talking about even the people who are closest to him’ that agreed with Trump’s timing.
‘I can’t explain why he would choose right now,’ Huckabee added.
The speech got a mixed reaction.
Some members of the crowd tried to leave early, after he continued on for just over an hour.
Footage captured by ABC News showed them unable to leave due to Trump’s security.
The crowd was held inside the ballroom until the entire Trump family – Donald, Melania, Barron, Eric, Lara, Jared Kushner and Kimberly Guilfoyle – had departed out the front entrance of the Palm Beach, Florida estate.
The Secret Service wouldn’t say if this was part of the agency’s security protocol – as Trump retains protection.
‘Due to the need to maintain operational security, the U.S. Secret Service does not comment on the means, methods or resources used to conduct our protective operations,’ Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the USSS’ Communication and Media Relations Division Jim Domingue told DailyMail.com.
ABC News caught video of some crowd members trying to leave Mar-a-Lago’s ballroom before Trump finished his speech. But security didn’t allow anyone to leave the room until the whole Trump family departed
Former President Donald Trump (left) and former First Lady Melania Trump (right) walk into Mar-a-Lago for Tuesday night’s presidential announcement. Guests were held inside the ballroom until the Trump family could depart the same way
Lara Trump (left) waves as she enters Mar-a-Lago alongside husband Eric (right), followed by Barron Trump (back left) and Jared Kushner (back right)
Trump’s speech droned on for just over an hour and lacked his usual vigor and humor – characteristic of those he delivers at rallies on the campaign trail.
All the major TV networks, including Fox News Channel, pulled away before the ex-president had wrapped up.
The announcement didn’t wow at least one prominent GOP superdonor.
Axios reported Wednesday morning that Blackstone Group CEO head Stephen Schwarzman wouldn’t be backing Trump’s 2024 campaign and was ready for the GOP to move on from the ex-president.
‘America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,’ Schwarzman told Axios after the announcement. ‘It is time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries.’
Ivanka Trump sent out a statement Tuesday night, explaining her absence: she would not be having anything to do with the 2024 campaign.
‘I love my father very much. This time around, I’m choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family,’ the former White House adviser said. ‘While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena.’
Donald Trump Jr. wasn’t in attendance due to a flight hiccup, as he tried to return to Florida from a hunting trip.
Schwarzman’s exit from the Trump orbit comes after another GOP megadonor, Citadel’s Ken Griffin, said he would be backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, should he run.
Griffin had previously referred to Trump as a ‘three-time loser,’ which was similar to the verbiage former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie used to describe the ex-president’s record when he tore into him at an Orlando conference for Republican governors Tuesday afternoon – just hours before Trump’s speech.
FRONT ROW TO HISTORY? Kimberly Guilfoyle, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump and Lara Trump were seated front row at Tuesday night’s announcement, along with supporters in Trump hats
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell talked to reporters Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago before the former president appeared
One of former President Donald Trump’s guests at his ‘special announcement’ Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago
A man dressed as Trump’s wall takes a selfie with another supporter at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night ahead of the former president’s ‘special announcment’
Christie told a crowd, also according to Axios, that Trump was responsible not just for the ‘red wave’ never materializing in 2022, but losses in 2020 and 2018 as well.
Christie has been an off-and-on political ally of Trump – though has turned critic as of late.
During the speech, Trump pushed back on the idea that he was an election-loser.
‘I do want to point out in the midterms, my endorsement success rate was 232 wins and only 22 losses,’ he said. ‘And this is an elegant night at an elegant place and I’m not going to use the term “fake news,” so we’re going to keep it very elegant, but you don’t hear that from the media.’
But his former acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tweeted out Trump’s ‘losses included Senate races in PA, AZ, NV and NH. And governors in AZ, PA, and MI.’
‘Wins included dog catcher in Pahrump, AZ,’ Mulvaney said, later correcting it to Pahrump, Nevada. ‘Not the same thing. And people know it.’
Trump also complained about the ‘weaponization’ of the Justice Department, including the August raid of Mar-a-Lago, as he’s under investigation for removing White House documents, among other things.
‘We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood,’ Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted in reaction Wednesday morning.
Pompeo is seemingly also exploring a bid for the presidency.
In Tuesday’s Morning Consult/Politico poll, just one respondent out of 842 said he’d be their first choice in a 2024 Republican primary, putting him at 0 percent to Trump’s 47 percent.
Those who attended Tuesday night’s announcement were some of the most MAGA faithful, including My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, adviser Stephen Miller, longtime political consultant Roger Stone and adviser Jason Miller.
The only prominent member of Congress in the crowd was outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who was successfully primaried by another Republican after making eyebrow-raising statements about GOP members of Congress.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy said on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel Wednesday morning, ‘I didn’t listen to it.’
‘Frankly, I’ve got better things to do,’ the Louisiana lawmaker told host Julie Mason.
GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski – whose Senate race has yet to be called as she defends her seat against the Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka – shrugged off the announcement to reporters Wednesday before the Senate GOP’s leadership vote.
‘He’s … doing what he’s doing,’ said Murkowski, who voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment – that he incited the January 6 insurrection.
Lindell charged – falsely – that the midterm elections were still rife with fraud – and so criticism blaming Trump for Republicans’ underwhelming performance was unfounded.
‘These guys all won,’ Lindell said, referencing in particular, Arizona Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake and Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Both races have been called for their Democratic opponents.
‘If we would have had a red wave, nobody would have ever listened to me again,’ Lindell told DailyMail.com.
He also said that even DeSantis stood no chance against Trump in a Republican primary.
‘If he runs tonight it’s over. That’s it. Boom. If he says he’s running it’s over. There’s no other candidates. They’d be wasting their time and money blah, blah, blah,’ Lindell said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said he caught the speech last night and told reporters on Capitol Hill he thought it was ‘good.’
He had also tweeted that he appreciated Trump’s more subdued tone.
‘If President Trump continues this tone and delivers this message on a consistent basis, he will be hard to beat,’ Graham wrote.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz couched his support on Trump getting through the 2024 GOP primaries.
‘If he’s the nominee I’d support him,’ Cruz said – mirroring language from a number of Democrats when they’ve been asked about supporting another Biden bid.