President Trump stuck to old themes and complaints in his highly touted campaign kickoff speech in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday night. The president railed against the “fake news,” “socialism,” investigations into his administration, the Democrats running to replace him, former President Barack Obama and the Clinton family in the marathon speech, which lasted well over an hour.
Trump framed his re-litigation of the conflicts from the 2016 election and the first half of his presidential term as a defense of his supporters.
“The Democrats don’t care about Russia. They only care about their own political power. They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I’ve ever known or worked with, but they are really going after you,” Trump said pointing at the audience. “That’s what it’s all about. … They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.”
Trump and his campaign promoted the event as an official launch to his reelection effort. However, as with many of his Democratic rivals who held so-called kickoff events, Trump’s rally was only a launch in the cosmetic sense. Trump’s 2020 campaign has been in full swing with a robust staff for some time. In an unusual step, the president formally declared his intention to run for reelection on the day he took office in January 2017. Trump has also since the end of the last election cycle held several freewheeling rallies that are one of his campaign trademarks.
The location of his event on Tuesday night was clearly strategic, since Trump’s campaign has singled out Florida as a key state for him in 2020.
While Trump did not debut any new initiatives, he touted the economic performance under his administration and reiterated commitments to expanding the military budget while curbing abortion and illegal immigration. Trump also predicted more time in office would help him make progress towards curing cancer, eliminating AIDS in this country, and laying the “foundation” for American astronauts to land on Mars.
“We are going to keep on winning, winning, winning,” Trump said.