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Press: New year, new campaign, same old Trump 

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, second from left, look on. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Well, it looks like Donald Trump actually is running for president, after all. A lot of Republicans weren’t sure he was going to go through with it, given how he went underground after announcing last Nov. 16. For more than two months, Trump didn’t hold one campaign rally and never strayed farther from Mar-a-Lago than the nearest golf course. 

On Saturday, Trump finally came out of hibernation, holding campaign events in New Hampshire and South Carolina. But loyal supporters expecting anything different, or longtime Republicans hoping he’d spent the last two months crafting an exciting new message for 2024, were largely disappointed. They heard nothing new.  

Even though many Republicans believe his obsession with the 2020 election was a major cause of the GOP’s poor performance in the 2022 midterms, Trump shows no sign of changing his tune. In fact, just the opposite. Less than three minutes into his New Hampshire speech, he falsely claimed the last election had been stolen from him — an assertion he repeated a few hours later in South Carolina. Whether Republicans like it or not, that’ll be the centerpiece of his 2024 campaign. 

Trump recycled another of his favorite lies, bragging that his administration was on pace to eliminate the national debt, when in fact the national debt ballooned by $7.8 trillion during his presidency. He mocked Joe Biden for failing to win the New Hampshire Democratic Primary in 2020, ignoring the fact that Biden trounced him by 7 points in New Hampshire’s general election. Trump also lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton, albeit barely, in 2016. 

Does any other politician think windmills are a winning political issue? Trump still does. In New Hampshire, he continued his one-man war on windmills. “No drill, we’re not gonna drill. We’re going wind. Let’s kill all the birds. Let’s destroy our planes and beautiful oceans and seas and everything else,” he said sarcastically — without explaining how windmills might destroy planes or oceans. 

In the same vein, rejecting anything that might suggest any connection to climate change, Trump also accused “them” of mandating electric cars. “The cars go for like two hours. What are you going to do? Everyone’s going to be sitting on the highway. We’re all going to be looking for a little plug-in,” he complained. Apparently, news has not penetrated Mar-a-Lago that electric cars are not mandatory. That they are, in fact, the fastest-growing segment of the global auto industry — doubling the number of worldwide sales in 2021. And that they now have an average range of 402 miles on every charge. 

Along the way, Trump also rolled out a few oldies-but-goodies: condemning critical race theory, vowing to keep transgender athletes out of women’s sports, asserting he could end the war in Ukraine in one week, and, of course, promising to target Hunter Biden. All in all, Trump delivered nothing but a mishmash of “same old, same old.” Had it been a new Broadway show, it would have opened and closed on the same night. 

But what’s most amazing about Trump’s campaign appearances last week is that there was almost no mention of the fact that this is a man who, as former president, unleashed an armed mob on the U.S. Capitol. That alone should disqualify Trump from running for president again. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and more — the Republican Party’s not lacking for other candidates. If it sticks with Donald Trump, it will be mired in the past. And it will be bound to lose.  

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.” 

Tags 2024 presidential election Debt election fraud claims Electric vehicles

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