Stumping on the eve of the 2022 midterms in the famous election bellwether state of Ohio, former President Donald Trump did more than tout GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance. He also announced a Nov. 15 Mar-a-Lago announcement on his hotly anticipated plans to run for the presidency once more in 2024.
"Two years ago, we were a great nation, and we will be a great nation again," Trump told his Save America rally in Dayton, Ohio. It aired on Newsmax, which reported on his stumping for Vance, GOP Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Ohio GOP Rep.-nominee Max Miller, and ticking down all of his 2022 midterm candidates.
Then came the announcement on his own political plans, which had spawned fevered speculation he might just declare his candidacy outright there on the Ohio stage.
"I'm going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. We want nothing to detract from the importance of tomorrow. You understand that, J.D."
Trump's teases were sprinkled throughout his remarks.
"I ran twice; I won twice, and I did much better the second time than I did the first, getting millions and millions more votes in 2020 than we got in 2016 – and likewise getting more votes than any sitting president in the history of our country," he said.
"The first step to saving America is winning an epic victory for Republicans tomorrow."
Trump then stopped short of finishing his trademark rally moment, turning attention to Vance's candidacy for Senate.
"I'd love to own the guy," Trump said of Vance, who he suggested he had to back even if he was a "very independent guy."
"Tomorrow the great people of Ohio are going to send J.D. Vance to the United States Senate," Trump predicted.
"J.D. you have some very good polls today: What the hell am I doing here? Good night, everybody," Trump joked. "We can make this one real short, J.D., would you like to just do it for a quickie, or do you want to go through the whole deal?"
Trump repeated a 2024 tease elsewhere in his appearance.
"This is the year we are going to take back the House; we're going to take back the Senate; we're going to take back America — and in 2024, we're going to take back that magnificent White House," Trump said. "Take it back."
Trump hailed the guests of North Carolina women for Trump and the frequently mentioned man in the Uncle Sam costume.
"Uncle Sam, do you love our country? Uh, you better believe it," Trump said. "No, he loves it better two years ago, but he's going to love it a lot very soon."
Down the steps
Trump, who descended the stairs of Trump Force One as he'd come down the Trump Tower escalator to roll out his 2016 campaign, was speaking one night before the midterms and a day after earlier teases about Monday.
"If you want safety for your family and security for your community, you need to vote," Trump said. "Look, you got to get these people out of office. They've got to leave, because they're killing our country — defund the police? How about to fund the police?"
Sons Donald Jr. and Eric, along with Eric's wife, Lara, were in attendance in Ohio, and their father joked they did not have permission to have a laptop like Hunter Biden.
"Don, if you ever have a laptop like that, I will never speak to you again," Trump said.
With that, Trump touched on another issue of concern, allegations that the Biden administration has weaponized the Justice Department to silence dissent.
"They're coming after me, because I am fighting for you," he said.
When showing the 2024 presidential polls, Trump passed on repeating his "Ron DeSanctimonious" moniker, calling Florida's governor, most carefully, Ron DeSantis this time. There's been much speculation that the two may wind up competing for the party presidential nomination.
In other rally comments, Trump rejected attempts to pursue him for violations of the Presidential Records Act, having raided Mar-a-Lago in August, saying "maybe our country would be better off if I actually had nuclear codes."
"This is the most dangerous time in the history of our country," Trump said, talking about nuclear saber rattling in Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
But it was his presidential plans that probably drew the most focus on Monday night.
Close to announcing
On the topic of 2024, Trump reportedly had to be talked out of making his presidential campaign declaration Saturday night in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and he teased a potential announcement Monday night while in the midst of a Sunday rally in Miami.
"I ran twice; I won twice, and I did much better the second time than I did the first, getting millions and millions more votes in 2020 that we got in 2016 – and likewise getting more votes than any sitting president in the history of our country by far," Trump told his rally Sunday night, which aired live on Newsmax.
"And, now, in order to make our country successful, safe, and glorious, I will probably have to do it again.
"But stay tuned."
"Stay tuned tomorrow night in the great state of Ohio," Trump continued, teasing his long-awaited 2024 presidential announcement with Vance on the eve of the 2022 midterm elections' final votes.
"We have to win a historic victory for Republicans on Tuesday."
Trump presidential adviser Dick Morris told Newsmax on Saturday that Trump has been repeatedly held back in announcing officially for 2024 in order to give the GOP midterm candidates the spotlight for the election on Tuesday.
Trump also teased an impending announcement Saturday night, calling his chief GOP challenger in the 2024 hypothetical presidential primary polls Florida Gov. "Ron DeSanctimonious."
The quip was pitched in the mainstream media as a shot across the bow, aimed at his potential primary challenger, but experts close to Trump say the quip was merely targeted at DeSantis reelection ads that suggested he'd been delivered to Florida by the hand of God.
After the quip, Trump told this Miami rally to get out and vote for DeSantis in Tuesday's midterm election against Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.
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