(RepublicanWire.org) – He didn’t announce whether he would launch another campaign for the presidency, but former President Donald Trump pledged at his first rally of 2022 that come 2024, “we are going to take back the White House.”
And speaking in front of a sea of supporters gathered at the Country Thunder festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, Trump delivered what sounded like his first stump speech of a possible 2024 campaign.
Trump repeatedly took aim at President Biden, who defeated him in the 2020 presidential election. Trump deemed his successor in the White House “incompetent” and blasted Biden on a wide range of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, foreign policy and crime.
While Trump looked ahead to 2024 as well as this year’s midterm elections – he predicted that “a great red wave is going to begin right here in Arizona” and vowed that “this is the year we take back the House, this is the year we take back the Senate” – he spent much of his speech looking back to his 2020 election loss to Biden.
The former president repeated his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and once again claimed that “I ran twice and we won twice.”
It was no surprise that Trump chose Arizona to kick off his first rally of the new year. Besides being a key battleground in the 2022 midterms, with high profile showdowns for Senate and governor, it is also one of a half-dozen states where Biden narrowly edged Trump in 2020 to win the White House.
Last year, a Trump-fueled and GOP-driven partisan audit of votes was conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county. Results of the review found that Trump received a couple of hundred fewer votes than the results from the certified election.
Trump’s second rally of 2022 will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29, in Conroe, Texas, which is north of Houston.
The former president’s Save America PAC announced on Friday that the rally would be held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. It comes one month for primary day in Texas.
A source close to Trump told Fox News that the former president plans to hold roughly two rallies per month going forward.
Trump vs. DeSantis
Did Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis add fuel to the fire in what seems like a burgeoning spat between the popular conservative governor and the former president?
DeSantis has seen his popularity surge among Republican voters in his state and around the nation over the past year and a half, thanks in large part to his combative pushback against COVID-19 restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After Trump last week said in an interview that politicians who won’t publicly say whether they’ve received a COVID vaccine booster shot are “gutless” – which was widely seen as a shot at DeSantis – the governor appeared to return fire Friday in an interview on the popular conservative podcast “Ruthless.”
DeSantis said he should have been “much louder” in trying to convince Trump to oppose lockdowns as the pandemic was sweeping the nation in February and March 2020.
And the governor touted that “when COVID was first coming… I was telling Trump ‘stop the flights from China’ because we didn’t know what we were dealing with.”
DeSantis shut down Florida as the pandemic engulfed the nation, but was also one of the first governors in 2020 to lift coronavirus restrictions.
DeSantis, a former congressman who was narrowly elected Florida governor in 2018 in part thanks to then-President Trump’s support, is running for reelection this year. And he’s polled a consistent – and distant – second to Trump in most of the early 2024 GOP presidential nomination polls.
Asked about his rising popularity among Republican voters nationwide, DeSantis said in his “Ruthless” interview “I think what people see, quite frankly, Republicans, they want to see people actually lead and get things done and fight back. And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve had to do it tooth and nail. We don’t back down from anybody. And we do things. And so, I don’t just wait for things to happen.”
Trump has predicted that if he runs for the White House again, DeSantis won’t run. The governor has deflected when asked about 2024. “It’s way down the road. It’s not anything that I’m planning for,” DeSantis said in a Fox News interview last autumn.https://5112d14361f49db37ba00891f9dcf1ae.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
And DeSantis blamed the media for talk of any tensions with the former president.
“I think this is what the media does, and you cannot fall for the bait. You know what they’re trying to do. Don’t take the bait, and just kind of keep on keeping on. We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022,” the governor argued.
A Quinnipiac University national poll conducted Jan. 7-10 and released last week had some tough numbers for both Trump and President Biden.
The president’s approval rating dropped to just 33% in the survey.
And by a 59%-33% margin, those questioned said they wouldn’t like to see Trump run again.
According to the poll, 69% of Republicans want to see Trump run again. But that’s down from 78% who said the same thing in Quinnipiac’s October survey.