President Donald Trump formally launched his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday by presenting himself as the same political insurgent who shook up the Washington establishment four years ago and who is now a victim of an attempted ouster by Democrats.
At a packed rally in Orlando, Florida, Trump made clear he would run for re-election as an outsider, just as he did in 2016.
Together we stared down a broken political establishment and we restored government by and for the people, Trump said. As long as you keep this team in place, we have a tremendous way to go. Our future has never looked brighter or sharper.
As thousands cheered him on in Orlando's Amway Center, Trump said his Democratic challengers would radically change the United States and would seek to legalize migrants coming across the southern border so they could vote and boost the Democratic political base.
It was a return to a major theme of his 2016 campaign when he warned of the threat of illegal immigration and promised a crackdown.
Trump said the Democrats want to destroy our country as we know it and that it's not going to happen.
Two dozen Democrats are competing for their party's nomination to face off against Trump in the November 2020 election. Many of the top Democrats lead Trump in opinion polls in many battleground states.
Just think what this angry left-wing mob would do if they were in charge of this country. Imagine if we had a Democrat president and a Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents, Trump said.
Trump made his re-election launch official at what was his 60th political rally since he took office in January 2017. He brought his wife, Melania, and a large contingent of senior White House staff.
“Tonight I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States, Trump said. I promise you I will never ever let you down.
The Trump of 2020 bears a strong resemblance to the Trump of 2016 - brash and eager to blast opponents and promote tough policies on trade and immigration.
During his speech, Trump declared himself a victim and aired his grievances.
He made an issue of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The probe found insufficient evidence to establish that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow. It also described numerous attempts by Trump to impede Mueller's probe, but stopped short of declaring that he committed a crime.
We went through the biggest witch hunt in political history, said Trump. It was all an illegal attempt to overturn the results of the election.
However a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Jun 11 gave Trump a 40 per cent job approval rating, compared with 57 per cent who disapproved. Other opinion polls have shown him running consistently behind his main Democratic challengers, such as Biden, in key battleground states.
Republican strategists say the fundamentals favor Trump as he heads into his election but that he faces challenges given his bare-knuckled approach, which he refuses to temper.
In a Twitter post before his trip, Trump said: Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now!
The Orlando Sentinel, however, welcomed the president's visit with an editorial titled: Our endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump.”
Trump supporters with tents and sleeping bags started camping out at the rally venue on Monday and thousands had gathered by Tuesday afternoon in a torrential downpour.