Former President Donald Trump was “channeling Jeb Bush” and had “very low energy” during the announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign, citing Republican losses in the 2022 midterms, said a CNN presidential historian. Tim Naftali said that it was teleprompter Trump, never been the most powerful or effective spokesperson.

“Very low energy. Very, very unusual presentation from Donald Trump. It surprised me. It surprised me that given the amount of time he’s been thinking about this, this was the best product he could put out,” Naftali said. “I listened to him in the campaign in Pennsylvania. He was full of energy. He was teasing the fact he was going to announce,” he added. “You could sense that he wanted to do it. Where was that person tonight? Something has happened. I have a feeling just watching him that the midterm is depressing him tremendously,” said Naftali.

Senate nominees Blake Masters of Arizona, Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania, and Adam Laxalt of Nevada were among the more prominent endorsees who fell short, while gubernatorial nominees Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania and Kari Lake of Arizona also lost to their Democratic opponents.

During Trump’s announcement speech, he said that our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now. “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal,’” said the former president. “We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military, take care of our Vets,” he added, reported the Daily Caller.

Trump’s involvement in the 2022 midterms was contrasted by Naftali with the conduct of Grover Cleveland, who won non-consecutive terms as President in the 1884 and 1892 elections.

Naftali said that we have actually no historical example of a former president who’s planning to run again participating in a midterm. “And for Trump, his problem was, midterms are supposed to catapult you forward. They’re supposed to give you energy and repair or embolden your brand,” said Naftali. “These midterms really hurt him. So yes, he’s a candidate. Yes, he’s going to be a major force. But I don’t think he enters into this race as formidable for fellow Republicans,” he added.

Here is what Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina posted on Twitter: “If President Trump continues this tone and delivers this message on a consistent basis, he will be hard to beat. His speech tonight, contrasting his policies and results against the Biden administration, charts a winning path for him in the primaries and general election.”

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