Former President Donald Trump — irrepressible but increasingly intolerable — wants to be back on center stage.
Most Americans have had enough politics to last them awhile. Nonetheless, former President Donald Trump decided to test their patience Tuesday by announcing that he’s running for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination.
Trump, now 74, said he was doing so “to make America great and glorious again.”
As rhetoric goes, that sounds presidential enough. And it’s far better than Trump acknowledging that he’s determined to exercise a Mt. Everest-sized ego bruised from his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden and his drubbing-by-proxy in last week’s midterm elections.
It’s unclear how much support Trump retains from the U.S. electorate, but it’s substantial. Nonetheless, it was the reaction to his announcement from the political community that was most revealing.
Democrats were euphoric, while Republicans were, to say the least, not.
The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Jaime Harrison, gleefully called Trump’s announcement “the kickoff to what will be a messy Republican primary.” U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-styled socialist from Vermont, said Trump’s entry into the race is “probably a good thing” for Democrats hoping to retain the White House.
That, of course, is the same thing they said in 2016. How’d that work out?
At the same time, practical Republicans demonstrated they are tired of Trump because they’re worn out from two consecutive Trump-led election defeats.
U.S. Sen. Tod Young, R-Ind., said he is “not even close” to supporting Trump because Republicans have “so many talented people poised to enter the race.”
They include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador.
Despite that bravado, Trump presents far more of a problem for the GOP than an opportunity. He retains a base of voters that remains besotted with the disruptive style that has worn thin with general election voters.
At the same time, his rule-or-ruin, it’s-all-about-me approach suggests he will undermine GOP chances if he’s denied the nomination. It’s that self-serving practice that has Democrats drooling in anticipation of another Trump run.
Everyone, of course, will just have to wait and see what happens. But no one should anticipate a new Trump, whose announcement speech so impressed U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said Trump would be “hard to beat” if he sticks to the issues and stops complaining about his 2020 defeat.
But Trump won’t, because he can’t. He’s like Popeye — “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam.”
The Wall Street Journal put it more conventionally when it described Trump’s “character flaws — narcissism, lack of self-control, abusive treatment of advisers, his puerile vendettas” that overwhelm any positives he brings generally to the Republican Party and, specifically to the White House and the nation.
Never underestimate Trump — he’s a fighter and a showman. But the public has seen this show before and canceled it.