Columbia, South Carolina:
Former President Donald Trump hit his campaign trail on Saturday for the first time since announcing his bid to retake the White House in 2024, visiting two early voting states and following up on his campaign. set aside criticism that it got off to a slow start.
“I’m angrier than I’ve ever been, I’m more committed than ever,” Trump said before a small audience at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s annual meeting in Salem, New Hampshire. , headed to Columbia, South Carolina, and showed up with his leadership team for the state.
Saturday’s event was remarkably quiet, in contrast to the raucous rallies Trump often holds in front of thousands of followers.In Columbia, Governor Henry McMaster and South Carolina Senate Lindsey Graham With lawmakers on his side, Trump addressed an audience of about 200 people at the state capitol.
Trump, once the undisputed center of gravity of the Republican Party, expresses concern about whether he can defeat Democratic President Joe Biden if he decides to run again, as is widely expected. people are increasing.
Many Republicans are considering whether to launch their own White House bid, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, widely seen as the biggest threat to Trump. New Hampshire Governor Chris Snunu and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, top Republicans in both states visited by the former president are among those considering their own bids.
South Carolina had some notable absences, including a state party chairman, five Republican congressmen, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, an emerging Republican presidential candidate.
Trump tried to allay those concerns by telling the crowd he expected an additional wave of support from South Carolina and members of Congress within days.
Several Republican state legislators decided not to attend after failing to get assurances from Trump’s team that doing so would not be viewed as an endorsement, according to people familiar with the plan.
Republican Speaker of Sumter County, South Carolina, William Oden, is a fan of the former president, but said his options remain open.
“I haven’t decided,” said Oden. “We wait until everyone comes out, and like I do in business, I don’t make a choice until I hear all the candidates.”
Focus on DeSantis?
During both visits on Saturday, Trump reiterated some of the themes that fueled his 2016 campaign, including his sharp criticism of illegal immigration and China.
But he also emphasized social issues. This was perhaps in response to DeSantis’ constant focus on the culture wars, which helped him gain national prominence.
In Colombia, the former president opposed the teachings of transgender rights and critical race theory, a once vague academic concept that sparked school board protests and classroom bans in some states. bottom.
“Stop the radical racists and perverts on the left who are trying to indoctrinate our youth and take their Marxist hands away from our children,” Trump said.
“We will overthrow the cult of gender ideology and reaffirm that God created two genders, male and female. We will not allow men to play women’s sports.”
Trump didn’t say much about his gripes about the 2020 election, but called it “ridiculous”, alluding to false claims that it was stolen from him.
Since starting his campaign in November, Mr. Trump has kept a relatively low profile. In early January, he called several Conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to convince them to vote for his supporter Kevin McCarthy as the new Speaker.
McCarthy was elected to the position after a hard-fought battle, but most dismissed his entreaties.
Trump maintains a sizable support base, especially among the grassroots. He loses in his head-to-head polls to DeSantis, but wins by a wide margin when poll respondents are presented with a broad field of choices.
(Except for the headline, this article is unedited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)
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