On the campaign trail for the first time since announcing his third presidential run in November, former President Donald Trump declared on Saturday that he is “more committed” than ever to regaining the White House.
“They said ‘he’s not doing rallies, he is not campaigning. Maybe he’s lost his step,’” Donald Trump said. “I’m more angry now, and I’m more committed now than I ever was.”
— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) January 29, 2023
After his appearance in New Hampshire, Trump made a second swing in South Carolina, where he declared that he was “more upset” about the country’s course and promised to come to the first-in-the-nation primary state “many, many more times” to try to repeat his 2016 victory there.
At the New Hampshire Republican Party’s annual gathering in Salem, Trump assured attendees, “This is it.” In the words of a potential presidential candidate: “We’re starting right here.”
Trump told reporters on the plane that Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and his ambassador to the United Nations, called him in recent days to tell him she’s thinking about running for president in 2024.
During their conversation, Trump reportedly added, “Look, you know, go by your heart if you want to run.” She has openly stated, “I would never run against my president, he was a terrific president.”
Trump claimed that he suggested to Haley that she “do it.”
Haley, who has moved her top staff to Charleston, is reportedly debating when to launch her campaign because she does not want to be Trump’s only opponent. While campaigning for another office in 2024, she indicated in 2021 that she would not challenge Trump.
Going Back Out On The Path
Earlier on Saturday, Trump’s team sent out a fundraising email boasting that he was the “first Republican presidential contender to campaign in the two early primary states” and that “no other candidate is working this early to get every last vote.”
Trump said in New Hampshire that Stephen Stepanek, the outgoing chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, will join his campaign as a senior adviser.
Stepanek served as the top Republican official in New Hampshire for two terms after co-chairing Trump’s first presidential campaign. As Trump’s support among state officials who are looking for a new face to top their party’s ticket wanes, he has decided to enter the campaign.
In his speech in Salem, Trump defended his lengthy absence from the campaign trail, criticizing media coverage that questioned the slow start of his campaign due to his decision to remain in Florida since starting his race in November. He denied that the 2024 campaign was using the American football tactic of “prevent defense” in the fourth quarter.
Some others speculated that he had lost his mojo because he was no longer holding rallies. Trump has stated, “I am more enraged and more committed today than I have ever been.”
While campaigning in New Hampshire, Trump also proposed eliminating federal financing for schools that “promote critical racial theory or left-wing gender ideology” and having parents pick school administrators, a concept he called “the ultimate expression of local sovereignty.”
This Is Our Second Stop Of The Day
Meanwhile, senior advisors Brian Jack and Chris LaCivita, and former White House social media director Dan Scavino were all expected to be there at Trump’s second campaign visit on Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina.
The occasion had all the hallmarks of a presidential ceremony, with the speaker’s podium set up directly under the Statehouse rotunda and American flags flying on either side. The Trump campaign chose for it to appear that way so that they might benefit from their candidate’s status as a former president if he faces opposition in the coming weeks, perhaps from Haley.
The South Carolina House chamber was direct across the hall from where Trump made his announcement. Republican members of the South Carolina House have responded to the former president’s 2024 candidature with a combination of excitement and trepidation.
Others, including South Carolinians and Senators Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, who are considering their own White House bids, told CNN they were waiting to see how the GOP primary field formed before making up their minds about supporting the former president.
To that end, Trump is hoping for a repeat of his 2016 victory in South Carolina’s primary, which he won by a 10-point margin. One source familiar with the effort said that Trump’s top prospective competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is already seeking to recruit his own allies in the state.
This source claimed, “He has a really tight-knit gang developed, and they are making calls boosting him up.”
Criminal investigations into the retention of confidential information at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and into portions of the January 6, 2021 rebellion at the US Capitol are still being overseen by special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation of Trump. Trump is under scrutiny for his actions in both probes.
Classified materials were discovered at places associated with both Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, which coincides with Trump’s campaign events on Saturday. Separate from the inquiry into the sensitive Obama-era documents found at Biden’s home and old private office, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, stated earlier this week that it would reinstate Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks, more than two years after suspending him in the wake of the January 6 incident.