Former US president Donald Trump, 76, has announced his intention to seek the White House again in 2024.
True to his style, Trump ignored appeals by the top Republican leadership who warned that the former president was to partly blame for the party’s weaker-than-expected showing in the recent midterm elections.
As his aides filed paperwork with the US Federal Election Commission for a 2024 White House bid, Trump became the first heavy-weight contender from either the Republican or Democratic party to formally announce their candidacy.
"America's comeback starts right now," Trump declared at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
"I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," he added.
Why this matters
Trump’s early announcement, though expected, is seen as a move by the former president to shield himself from multiple investigations including the mob attack by his supporters on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump faces several criminal investigations, including a separate Justice Department inquiry into his handling of classified materials found at Mar-a-Lago.
There are criminal investigations into Trump's attempts to pressure Georgia officials to meddle in the election.
The former president’s announcement has come even as his party is still reeling from voters' rejection of GOP candidates in the US midterm elections, many of them personally chosen and endorsed by Trump.
The path to being nominated by the GOP is not going to be easy for the former president. Trump faces a long list of potential challengers, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who cruised to re-election last week and is now seen as the strongest candidate in the party to run for president.
Trump won the 2016 elections on his "America First" platform. If he is re-elected (that is if the GOP rallies around him and he ends up as the Republican nominee) Trump’s -- who will be 78 by 2024 -- final term as president may completely alter the federal government, reshaping America in many ways than one.