Watch Donald Trump announce his 2024 candidacy transcript

Donald Trump (00:00:00)

In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States. Thank you. Thank you all of you. Thank you. So many incredible friends and family here tonight, it’s such a beautiful thing. Some people say, “How do you speak before so many people all the time?” When there’s love in the room, it’s really easy if you want to know the truth. Have you ever known? Really, you ought to try it sometime. Together, we will be taking on the most corrupt forces and entrenched interests imaginable. Our country is in a horrible state, we’re in grave trouble. This is not a task for a politician or a conventional candidate, this is a task for a great movement that embodies the courage, confidence, and the spirit of the American people. This is a movement, this is not for any one individual. This is a job for tens of millions of proud people working together from all across the land and from all walks of life, young and old, Black and White, Hispanic and Asian, many of whom we have brought together for the very, very first time. If you look at the numbers, if you look at what’s happened with Hispanic, with African American, with Asian and just look at what’s happening. This is a party that has become much bigger, much stronger, much more powerful, can do much more good for our country. This is a job for grandmothers and construction workers, firefighters, builders, teachers, doctors, and farmers who cannot stay quiet any longer. You can’t stay quiet any longer. You’re angry about what’s happening to our country. Our country is being destroyed before your very eyes. It’s a job for every aspiring young person and every hard working parent, for every entrepreneur and underappreciated police officer who is ready to shout for safety in America. The police are being treated so badly. These are great people that can straighten out the crime. They’re the ones that know how to do it. We have to give them back their respect and their dignity. This will not be my campaign, this will be our campaign all together. Because the only force strong enough to defeat the massive corruption we are up against is you the American people. That’s true, the American people, the greatest people on earth, we love them all. And we love both sides. We’re gonna bring people together, we’re going to unify people. And it was happening in the previous administration, previous to the previous. And what was bringing them together with success. Prior to COVID coming in, the people we’re calling me, that were calling me you wouldn’t believe it. People that were so far left I figured they’d never speak to me and I would never speak to them, but our success was so incredible like never before.

Interviewer (00:03:36)

You’re listening to the former president announcing that he is running for president again, rewriting the history most recently of the midterm elections. Back with Dana Bash, Kaitlin Collins, Alyssa Farah Griffin joining us as well, CNN presidential historian, Tim Naftali. Dana, any thoughts on what you just heard? 

Interviewee 1 (00:03:54)

Well, he certainly tried to heed the warnings of those around him. Well, what they really wanted him to do was not make this announcement right now. But given the fact that he rebuffed that, in terms of the content of the speech, tried to stay on policy, tried to remind people of the issues that many of the Republican supporters and some independents believed in and stay away from the grievances. He didn’t actually talk about what went wrong in 2020, he did no question mislead in a very very big way about what happened in 2022. 

Interviewer (00:04:38)

Well, he actually intimated that China controlled the election.

Interviewee 1 (00:04:41)

Oh, well, there’s that too. Okay, fair point. Fair point, thank you. Thank you for that. 

Interviewer (00:04:48)

But clearly he’d been told–

Interviewee 1 (00:04:48)

Which by the way nobody has said.

Interviewer (00:04:49)

Of course. But he’d also been clearly told not to talk about 2020. He ad-libed that part and then said, “Okay, but I know.” And he moved on. 

Interviewee 1 (00:04:58)

Yeah. And just one of the main reasons why people didn’t want him to do this, well, was because of what happened last Tuesday and in the days since then. Because so many of the candidates he endorsed did not win in the primary and then in the general election. He tried to make the point that in the house, all of these candidates he endorsed won, the people he’s talking about we’re going to win no matter what, because they’re in ruby red seats. The only candidates in crossover districts, in swing districts he supported lost, four of them, they all lost. In the Senate, in the governor’s races, Kari Lake, Blake Masters, Dr. Oz, Doug Mastriano, and the list go on and on and on and on and on. That’s the reality. 

Interviewee 2 (00:05:45)

I want to know two things. One, there was a split screen moment where Biden is talking about what is happening in Poland. You can’t really ignore that happening moments before Trump came out. Biden tweeted from his account about Trump being a failure while in office as this speech was happening. What stood out to me about Trump is, he didn’t really go into depth about the 2020 election, but it’s looming over all of this. As he was trying to fight to stay in power, caused this deadly riot that happened at the Capitol that day. I think a lot of this is driven by the investigations that are facing him. I think that has to do potentially with the timing based on the conversations that he’s had, a lot of those investigations related to his fight to stay in power. It stood out to me he brought up the Kim Jong-un letter while he was there. He is under investigation in part for how he handled the Kim Jong-un letter among other things that he took with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left office.

Interviewee 1 (00:06:33)

Which is where he’s giving the speech.

Interviewee 2 (00:06:34)

And I’ll just say, I’ve heard from multiple people in Trump’s orbit that have text during those remarks saying it was a very different tone and energy, a lot lower energy than it is when he announced and came down the escalator in 2016.

Interviewee 3 (00:06:49)

Well, and what you can’t, we’re obviously still focused on the midterms, because they’re technically still underway and votes are still being counted, but you can’t eliminate from this 2020. This is a man who after losing the election, tried to overthrow the government, tried to disenfranchise 80 million voters, and then incited an insurrection at the Capitol. We can’t forget this is a man that in my estimation is wholly unfit to ever be in office again. And well, he’s trying to do this started as like, again, professional, he was on script at first, but then just interspersing it with just outright lies, dabbling into conspiracy that maybe China had something to do with the midterms, something I haven’t even seen in the dark corners of the internet. Nobody in the Republican Party no credible person, the Republican Party wanted this announcement today, but this is going to get legs. We are going to be covering him for the next two years and again, there’s a non zero chance he could be president again.

Interviewer (00:07:40)
Tim Naftali.
Interviewee 4 (00:07:40)

This was teleprompter Trump, never been the most powerful or effective spokesperson. This was Donald Trump channeling Jeb Bush, very low energy, very, very unusual presentation from Donald Trump. It surprised me, it surprised me that given the amount of time he’s been thinking about this, that this was the best product he could put out. I listened to him in the campaign in Pennsylvania, he was full of energy, he was teasing the fact that he was going to announce, you could sense that he wanted to do it. Where was that person tonight? Something has happened. I have a feeling just watching him that the midterm is depressing him tremendously. And the fact that he told everyone you don’t need to win by 40 seats, you only need to win by two, that’s not true. By the way, it wouldn’t be the first time that he didn’t tell the truth. But the fact of the matter is, on the stump. He was talking about an historic victory for Republicans. So this was a very odd presentation from somebody who wants to do something that has rarely been done in presidential history.

Interviewer (00:08:51)

In terms of presidential history though, it has rarely been done. It’s what? Hoover to run non consecutively.

Interviewee 4 (00:09:00)

All right, the only one who ever ran on a major party ticket, again, after having lost was Grover Cleveland and he won. But in that era–

Interviewer (00:09:11)
It was 1890s though.
Interviewee 4 (00:09:13)

Yeah, it was 1892 to ’81. But in that era, former president said nothing during midterms, he said nothing during the mid term of 1890. So we have actually no historical example of a former president who is planning to run again participating in the midterm. And for Trump, his problem was midterms are supposed to catapult you forward, they’re supposed to give you energy and repair or embolden your brand. These midterms really hurt him. And so yes, he’s a candidate, yes, he’s going to be a major force, but I don’t think he enters into this race as formidable for fellow republicans.

Interviewee 1 (00:09:49)
Can I just add one thing to that? When you look at history, there is no precedent for this kind of candidate, this kind of candidacy given what happened after the 2020 election. There’s no precedent for it, because what we saw was a president actively undermining democracy. What we have seen since then is him continue to do that. And what we saw last Tuesday was a repudiation of that election denialism, and here he is trying to run again. There is absolutely no precedent, nor should there be.

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