It’s official: Former President Donald Trump is running to “make America great again” — again? — in 2024.
“America’s comeback starts right now,” said Trump, who officially entered the 2024 race with a prime-time campaign announcement from his member club Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday night. “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
While Trump remains banned from Twitter after the social-networking site permanently suspended his account last year “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, his campaign announcement had the 45th president trending on Twitter and topping real-time Google search trends on Tuesday night.
Read more: Donald Trump announces 2024 presidential run: ‘America’s comeback starts right now’
Opinions were divided over his third consecutive presidential bid, which was to be expected — but the cheers and jeers did not necessarily fall along party lines.
Sure, Democrats, including President Joe Biden’s non–@POTUS account, countered that Trump had “failed America” during his single term.
Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison called the announcement “low energy,” and noted that even the Trump-friendly channel Fox News eventually cut away as the speech ran beyond 40 minutes.
Sarah Matthews, a onetime deputy press secretary in the Trump administration, tweeted that it was “one of the most low-energy, uninspiring speeches I’ve ever heard from Trump.”
There are a number of Republicans and conservatives who share reservations about Trump returning to the Oval Office. (He made history as the first U.S. president impeached twice.) And some prominent Republicans, such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and party chair Ronna McDaniel, were quiet on Twitter during and immediately after Trump’s announcements. In fact, former first daughter Ivanka Trump, who served as a special adviser to the former president while he was in office, didn’t attend the Palm Beach, Fla., announcement. She released a statement saying that, while she loves her father, she has decided “I do not plan to be involved in politics” this time around.
The Lincoln Project, a group of current and former Republicans who have been vocally anti-Trump, released a statement that read, “Donald Trump wasn’t only the worst President in American history; he’s the most destructive toward the American Republic and its ideals of free and fair democratic elections.”
The Republican Accountability Project tweeted out the hashtag #NeverTrump. And the conservative magazine National Review tweeted its “firm, unmistakable, No.”
And some prominent GOP members were already speaking out against Trump as the prospective top of the 2024 Republican ticket in the run-up to Tuesday night’s announcement.
As Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican from Wyoming and a member of the bipartisan Jan. 6 panel investigating Trump’s involvement in the attack on the Capitol, told the Washington Post’s Global Women’s summit: “There’s no question that he’s unfit for office, and I feel confident that he will never be president again.”
Former GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that Trump “gives us problems politically,” adding: “I think Trump’s kind of a drag on our ticket.”
Mike Pompeo, who served as CIA director and secretary of state under Trump and negotiated the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan with the Taliban, suggested more obliquely that it was time to move on from victimhood and retrospection.
Read more: A ‘Trump hangover’ dragged down Republican midterm results, Paul Ryan says
Indeed, exit polls showed that strong anti-Trump sentiment, as well as anger over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and send the issue of abortion rights back to the states, energized support for Democratic candidates in the midterm elections — and stymied Republican hopes of riding a “red wave” to take back both houses of Congress.
Read more: Anti-Trump vote and Dobbs abortion ruling boost Democrats in 2022 election
Other Republicans suggested that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could be the surer bet over Trump to beat the Democrats in 2024. While DeSantis won re-election by a 19-point margin in last week’s midterm elections, a number of Trump-backed candidates lost their races, such as Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz.
Read more: Trump vs. DeSantis: Midterm election results shake up the Republican 2024 field
The night before Trump’s big announcement, Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, likened Trump to an “aging pitcher who keeps losing games” while speaking to MSNBC. “If we want to win, we need a different pitcher on the mound,” he added. “I know there’s some fans that love him, but it’s time to get off the mound, because we have a real strong bench.”
And that sentiment was shared by some fellow Republicans on Twitter.
Citadel’s billionaire founder Ken Griffin, a major Republican donor who contributed millions to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s re-election, said: “I really do hope that President Trump sees the writing on the wall … and I’d like to think that the Republican Party is ready to move on from somebody who’s been, for this party, a three-time loser.” (He went on to enumerate those Trump losses, according to a Bloomberg report, as the lost presidential election in 2020, the forfeiture of a Republican Senate majority in that same cycle, and the Republican failure to flip the Senate in last week’s midterms.)
From the archives (June 2022): Ken Griffin moving Citadel to Miami from Chicago amid feud with Democratic Illinois governor
Fellow financial heavyweight and GOP megadonor Stephen Schwarzman, a longtime Trump associate and Blackstone Group
co-founder, has also reportedly signaled he won’t be along for the 2024 ride.
Conservative lawyer and commentator George Conway — husband of Kellyanne Conway, a top campaign and White House adviser to Trump — responded by tweeting out his latest Washington Post op-ed, which said “Trump is out for vengeance,” but predicted, “Trump won’t succeed, as his successive losses of the House, Senate, presidency and last week’s midterm results show. Too many Americans would crawl on broken glass to vote against him, no matter who his general election opponent may be. They have seen enough.”
But despite the Republicans going public about putting party over Trump, it should be noted that Trump is still incredibly popular. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found 47% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they would back Trump if the Republican presidential primary were held today, for example. And 33% said they would back DeSantis.
Even if his support seems to have slipped somewhat — another recent Morning Consult poll found Trump backed by 48% of potential Republican primary voters, which is down nine points from a 57% high in August — the GOP’s “Teflon Don” has bounced back before. And plenty of Trump’s fellow party members took to Twitter to celebrate his return to the campaign trail on Tuesday night. In fact, Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, had already endorsed him for president a week ago. “I am proud to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2024,” she said in a statement to the New York Times. “It is time for Republicans to unite around the most popular Republican in America who has a proven track record of conservative governance.”
See: Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward’s phone records to go to Jan. 6 select committee after Supreme Court lifts temporary stay
Republican Kari Lake, who just lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the Arizona governor’s race, tweeted that Trump “has my complete and total endorsement.” Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers of Arizona responded, “Add me to the list.” And Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won re-election in Georgia, tweeted this: “We will make America great again.”
And there were also calls to let Trump be allowed back on Twitter.