Asked why fame, fortune and retirement might not be enough, and why he is willing to face relentless attacks aimed at discouraging another run at the presidency, former President Donald Trump offered Newsmax a simple answer: America is too important for him to stop now.
"I've never had better poll numbers; I've never had better support within the party; and I've never had more support outside the party," Trump told Tuesday's "Rob Schmitt Tonight" in an exclusive interview.
He did, however, stop just short of officially announcing a presidential run in 2024 before the 2022 midterms have run their course. Republicans are hoping to regain control of one or both chambers of Congress in November.
Explaining why there might yet be political work ahead for the onetime president, he said this: "It's very simple: Our country is going to hell, and we were doing great."
Trump said ongoing investigations and attacks from his political opposition are nothing new.
"They were staging a coup," Trump told host Rob Schmitt. "They were trying to get us out of office.
"They hit us, before I even got into office, with phony investigations," he added. "They continue, always continuing."
Trump has repeatedly said he will not officially announce a run for 2024 until after the midterms because of "antiquated" campaign finance laws, but multiple challenges for the Biden administration – pandemic, Ukraine, runaway inflation and more – seems to be animating the Trump base.
These things are also animating Trump as he considers another term and a chance to clean up the mess.
"Our country is going to hell and we're going to make American great again, again, I sort of say," Trump continued. "And I smile, but there's nothing to smile about, because our country is going bad. We're not going to have a country much longer, if it keeps going. I don't think any president has done this damage.
"You can add up five presidents, they haven't done the damage that this man has done in the last year, if you look at everything: With the economy, with inflation, the COVID, the military embarrassment in Afghanistan."
"Our military has gone down in the eyes of the public 70%," Trump said, adding, "we have great generals, except for the television generals – they're stupid people."
Biden has botched the COVID-19 response, too, Trump insisted, as "substantially more people have died" under Biden with the vaccines than under Trump.
"We handed them over something that was incredible, and they really blew it on COVID," Trump said. "They really blew it."
"I did more than most presidents would do in 30 years, between the taxes, deregulation, the business, and everything else – then I got hit with the COVID from China," he concluded, noting the pandemic has caused $60 trillion in "damage worldwide, and that's not counting all the death."
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