Trump announces reelection bid at Florida rally

By Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:05 PM ET, Tue June 18, 2019
15 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
9:14 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Trump polls crowd on 2020 slogan: Keep America Great is the clear favorite

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond 

President Trump spent several minutes during his rally tonight musing about which slogan to pick for his 2020 campaign: Make America Great or Keep America Great.

So, in Trump fashion, he decided to poll the crowd — and Keep America Great was the clear winner, based on cheers.

"My ear drums will never be the same," Trump said after the cheers for Keep America Great rang out in Amway Center.

But before he polled the crowd, Trump laid out the stakes, making clear he is attached to the Make America Great Again slogan.

"How do you give up the greatest of all time?" Trump asked. "And if I lose people are going to say, 'What a mistake that was!'"

9:15 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Trump on a trade deal with China: "We'll see what happens"

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Daniel Dale

 MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
 MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump noted that he spoke with China's President Xi today but remained noncommittal on a deal.

Trump formally announced earlier today that he and Xi will have a meeting at the G20 later this month and trade talks will resume. 

Tonight, he called Xi a "terrific person."

As for a deal, he said, "We'll see what happens," reiterating that he wants a "good deal and a fair deal or we're not going to have a deal at all — and that's okay, too."

He also responded to what he said was criticism from "fake news" (but actually, economists) regarding Americans ultimately paying the price for China tariffs, claiming to his supporters that the US is "taking in billions" from China and "You're not paying much, if anything at all, in the case of China."

In addressing trade with China, Trump said the US has had a regular $500 billion trade deficit with China. 

Facts first: The US trade deficit with China has never once been $500 billion. Accounting for trade in both goods and services, it was $379 billion in 2018, and a record $419 billion in goods trade alone.

9:16 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Trump just formally announced his reelection bid

President Trump just announced he's officially running for a second term in 2020 at tonight's rally in Orlando, Florida.

"With every ounce of heart and might and sweat and soul, we're going to keep making America great again and then we will indeed keep America great," Trump said.

He continued:

"And that is why tonight, I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as President of the United States.

The crowd inside the arena cheered after Trump made his announcement.

"I can promise you that I will never, ever, ever let you down. I won't," he told his supporters.

Trump went on to thank his family, naming his wife, children, and parents, as well as his late brother, Fred Jr. 

Trump has held over 50 rallies since taking office and formally filed his re-election paperwork on Inauguration Day more than two years ago. 

CNN's Betsy Klein contributed to this post.

8:53 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Trump tells supporters: "We'll find" Clinton's deleted emails

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond 

President Trump speaks during a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, to officially launch his 2020 campaign on June 18, 2019.
President Trump speaks during a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, to officially launch his 2020 campaign on June 18, 2019. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump revived his focus on his former rival Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, vowing "we'll find" her emails "somewhere deep in the State Department."

"We’re going to find them somewhere deep in the State Department. We’ll find them," Trump said, though it was not clear exactly how or who would be doing the finding.

He did, though, mention Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has been involved in the counter-investigations Trump has called for.

Trump then said he would have gotten "the electric chair" if he had deleted emails.

"But can you imagine if I got a subpoena — think of this — if I got a subpoena for emails, if I deleted one email, like a love note for Melania, it’s the electric chair for Trump," the President said.
8:46 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Trump falsely claims Obama "did nothing" when he was informed of Russian election interference in 2016

From CNN's Daniel Dale

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump claimed tonight that President Obama "did nothing" when he was informed of Russian election interference in 2016.

Facts first: While Obama has been widely criticized for not doing more (though he has his defenders), it’s false to say that he “did nothing.” Obama took a number of steps, including warning Russia through various channels. Obama said he himself told Russian President Vladimir Putin in September 2016 "to cut it out," vowing "serious consequences" if he did not.

In October 2016, the US Intelligence Community issued a statement that it was "confident" that the Russian government was behind the theft and dissemination of Democratic officials' emails.

The Obama administration subsequently issued a set of sanctions to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 election and booted 35 Russian diplomats the US accused of being intelligence officers.

8:38 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Trump: Democrats want "to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it"

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond 

President Trump speaks during a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, to officially launch his 2020 campaign on June 18, 2019.
President Trump speaks during a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, to officially launch his 2020 campaign on June 18, 2019. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump accused Democrats of wanting to "destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it" during his rally tonight.

"Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable. It’s not going to happen," Trump said.

Trump has been airing a series of grievances and attacking Democrats during much of the first 15 minutes of his speech, complaining about Democrats not being willing to accept the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as the end of the line.

"With the Mueller report we won and now they want a do-over, they want a do-over," Trump said. "Didn’t work out too well, let’s do it again."

8:51 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Trump tees off speech criticizing the media

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Betsy Klein

President Trump teed off his kickoff rally tonight with a criticism of the media, saying that if he has "three or four empty seats" at his arena rally tonight, the media will say he did not fill the arena.

"You know, if we have three or four empty seats, the fake news will say headlines he didn’t fill the arena," Trump said, explaining his choice of a large, 20,000 capacity venue for his rally tonight.

"So I said maybe we should take a chance," Trump said, before noting that the arena is full.

Minutes later, after Trump noted that the 2016 election was a "defining moment in American history, ask them right there," pointing to the media risers.

The crowd then broke out in "tell the truth" and "CNN sucks" chants.

"By the way, that is a lot of fake news back there," Trump said after the chants died down.

See it here:

8:25 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

Facts first: Pence says Veterans Choice is "now the law" under Trump. The program has existed since 2014.

From CNN's Daniel Dale

In introducing President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence said, "We have reformed the VA, and Veterans Choice is now the law." 

Facts first: The Veterans Choice Program was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014 and was co-sponsored by the late Sen. John McCain. In 2018, Trump signed a bill to continue the program and eventually consolidated other programs under the new Veterans Community Care Program.

8:24 p.m. ET, June 18, 2019

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage in Orlando

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump just took the stage at his rally in Orlando, Florida.

He is expected to formally launch his reelection campaign tonight.

"He truly loves this country and will continue to work on your behalf as long as he can," the first lady said. "All of us will."

Follow the rally here or watch it live in the video player above.