Donald Trump kicked off his third presidential campaign on Saturday with events in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and a host of familiar themes. "Through weakness and incompetence, Joe Biden has brought us to the brink of World War III," Trump said, per NBC News. "We’re at the brink of World War III, just in case anybody doesn’t know it. As president, I will bring back peace through strength."
- Big themes: Trumped pushed immigration and crime, notes the AP, which sums up: He "hurtled from criticism of Biden and Democrats to disparaging comments about transgender people, mockery of people promoting the use of electric stoves and electric cars, and reminiscing about efforts while serving as president to increase oil production, strike trade deals, and crack down on migration at the US-Mexico border."
- A contrast: Instead of the large rallies of his first two campaigns, the Trump venues on Saturday were much smaller, notes New York Times. He spoke at a high school gym in New Hampshire and at the State Capitol in South Carolina. "For his third campaign, it’s back to basics—for the first time," write Michael C. Bender and Mei-Ling McNamara.
- His response: “They said, 'He’s not doing rallies, he is not campaigning. Maybe he’s lost his step,’” Trump said in New Hampshire. “I’m more angry now, and I’m more committed now than I ever was.”
- DeSantis: Trump took what Politico calls his "sharpest swings to date" at presumed challenger Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. He accused DeSantis of "trying to rewrite history" by presenting himself as a staunch opponent of COVID restrictions and lockdowns. He "promoted the vaccine as much as anyone," said Trump.
- DeSantis, II: “If he runs, that’s fine," Trump tells the AP. "I’m way up in the polls. He’s going to have to do what he wants to do, but he may run. I do think it would be a great act of disloyalty because, you know, I got him in. He had no chance. His political life was over.”
- The field: The Washington Post assesses the potential GOP candidates. Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Larry Hogan, Ted Cruz, and, yes, Liz Cheney are included in the comprehensive list.
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