Trump floats idea of 2024 White House run

WASHINGTON: Still irate and bitter one month after his election defeat to Joe Biden, Donald Trump is openly musing about a second run at the US presidency in 2024.

Trump has refused to accept defeat and his lawyers and supporters have filed lawsuits and even called for extraordinary intervention, such as martial law, to force a new vote.

On Wednesday, Trump released an extraordinary 46-minute video in which he again claimed that he was robbed of victory in a “rigged” election. At a White House Christmas party a day earlier, the president suggested he might have lost this battle, but would not retire quietly as a one-term president.

“It’s been an amazing four years. We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years,” he told guests. The comment was perhaps the closest Trump has come to admitting his quixotic, month-long quest to reverse Biden’s win has failed.

All six contested states have now certified their tallies, and the national count gives Biden nearly seven million more votes than Trump, an insurmountable four percentage-point margin. Attorney General Bill Barr declared that the Justice Department had found no significant evidence of fraud in the election.

Biden continued to prepared for taking office on January 20, telling a news outlet in an interview how he plans to revive the economy. “I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first,” he said.

Trump still refuses to publicly concede his election defeat, forcing him from office after one term. He has remained shuttered in the White House, limiting his public appearances, and apparently holding few official meetings, while issuing furious tweets about alleged election fraud.

According to media reports he is preparing his exit, holding discussions about issuing preemptive pardons for his three adult children – Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka – son-in-law Jared Kushner and his own personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Trump released on Twitter a formal address on the election saying “This may be the most important speech I’ve ever made”. He recited a litany of complaints about the election, saying the Democrats used the COVID-19 crisis to force widespread use of mailed ballots, which he said were fraudulently manipulated to support Biden.

“This election was rigged, everybody knows it,” he said. “It is statistically impossible that the person, me, who led the charge, lost.” Giuliani appeared before Michigan’s state legislature on Wednesday to present his claims of irregularities.

The campaign to delay and litigate the election results was turning in discomfiting directions. Two prominent retired three-star generals, including Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn, called for Trump to declare martial law and have the military supervise a new election.

Trump has discussed the possibility with his close aides of launching his 2024 campaign on January 20, the day Biden is to be inaugurated as president. The US Constitution restricts presidents to two four-year terms but does not require they be consecutive.

Trump faces the challenge of losing the center of attention, and his grip on the Republican Party, as Washington turns to the Biden administration. He retains strong support among voters, who could continue to rally behind him and make him a continuing force in Republican politics.

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