Former President Donald Trump invited press and the MAGA faithful down to Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night for a ‘special announcement’ that all but confirmed his ambitions to run for the White House in 2024.
The stage was set with a podium surrounded by American flags and his original 2016 campaign motto: ‘Make America Great Again’ posted on giant blue signs on either side of it.
The stately ballroom with its opulent gold trimmings and chandeliers was set up with hundreds of gold chairs for the occassion.
Trump’s ‘special announcement’ comes the same day as a new poll showed the ex-president with a commanding lead in a field of potential 2024 candidates, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has yet to rule out his own White House campaign against Trump.
The former president has responded by calling the governor ‘disloyal,’ ‘average’ and ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ amid a flurry of other insults.
Asked about that criticism on Tuesday, DeSantis suggested he was unfazed – but went out of his way to target ‘the corporate media’ more directly than the former president.
‘When you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, yeah you take incoming fire – that’s just the nature of it,’ DeSantis said.
‘I roll out of bed in the morning, I’ve got corporate media outlets just having a spasm over the fact that I’m getting up in the morning. And it’s constantly attacking, and this is just what’s happened.’
He continued, ‘I think what you learn is, all that’s just noise. And really what matters is – are you leading, are you getting in front of issues, are you delivering results for people and are you standing up for folks? And if you do that, then none of that stuff matters.’
But DeSantis added as a final jab, ‘At the end of the day, I would just tell people to check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.’
The ballroom at Mar-a-Lago was set up for a ‘special announcement’ Tuesday night, as former President Donald Trump is expected to launch another presidential bid
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell talked to reporters Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago before the former president appeared
Hours before the former president took the stage, advisers and allies like Jason Miller, Boris Epshteyn and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell milled about the room.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich was also present.
Jason Miller told reporters that Trump would be laying out ‘all the campaign mechanics’ on Tuesday night.
‘Right now this is his vision, this is what his message is,’ Miller said. ‘Tonight and this week is really about his message.’
SPOTTED AT THE TRUMP ‘SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT’
Texas AG Ken Paxton
Matt Boyle (Breitbart)
Alex Stein (media personality)
He added that President Joe Biden, who is assumed to be running for re-election but has not yet declared, is not making a splash among his own party with the idea of another campaign.
‘Democrats aren’t too excited about his prospects, and you have President Trump with a strong clear vision to get the economy back on track,’ Miller said.
Lindell fielded questions from outlets including DailyMail.com just before 6pm on Tuesday – three hours before the show was set to start.
‘If he said now – announces he’s running, 70 percent of America wants him to run for president because he’s still our real president,’ the entrepreneur said.
Asked about DeSantis’ potential challenge to Trump, Lindell scoffed, ‘Are you for real?’
‘If says he’s running – 100% even DeSantis, I believe, will say yes, I endorse him, because it’s a waste of time for anybody to run against the greatest president we’ve ever had,’ he later said.
Lindell, a prominent promoter of Trump’s 2020 election fraud claims, called Republicans’ failure to clinch a red wave in the 2022 midterm elections ‘a joke’ and a ‘set up’ when asked by DailyMail.com.
The GOP’s lackluster performance in the 2022 midterm elections gave some in the party pause about Trump’s Tuesday announcement even before the event started.
Establishment figures, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, turned against the former president for endorsing fringe-right candidates who failed to gain traction with Independent and moderate voters in key races across the country.
But 47 percent of likely Republican voters still want Trump at the top of the ticket, according to a new post-election poll from Politico/Morning Consult taken between November 10 and 14.
DeSantis comes in second, trailing Trump by double-digits with 33 percent of the hypothetical vote.