Ex-US president Donald Trump was ousted from office by Joe Biden last November and left the White House in January. His reputation suffered extensive damage as supporters from his January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally splintered off and embarked on a raid of the US Capitol building. Since then, he has kept a much lower profile, aside from a few public appearances to promote some of his future projects.
Does Donald Trump still have support?
Like many US Presidents before him, Mr Trump hasn’t kept politics at an arms-length.
But unlike his predecessors, he seems unprepared to accept the circumstances of his defeat, continually revisiting unfounded claims Democrats “stole” the 2020 election.
His base has followed in his footsteps, which, according to recent rallies, remains sizeable.
Mr Trump most recently appeared in Florida, where supporters gathered to hear him speak from Sarasota County.
An enthusiastic crowd braved soaking conditions in their thousands to watch the controversial Republican appear alongside other prominent party members.
They appeared undaunted by recent charges against the Trump Organisation, brought by the Manhattan District Attorney (DA) accusing Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of Mr Trump’s business group, of tax fraud.
Both Mr Weisselberg and the organisation itself have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
But those in attendance at the rally seemed unmoved by the news, pledging their unwavering support to the former Commander in Chief.
One told The Guardian they reckoned the charges were “trumped-up”.
Another added Mr Trump still has “a lot of very enthusiastic support”, evident by the crowds present.
Mr Trump retains his popularity both among the average voter and the Republican establishment he once led.
And polls show he can rely on their backing in a potential 2024 run.
During his address yesterday, Mr Trump hinted at another bid for the presidency.
If this announcement is a firm commitment to a third bid for the presidency, Mr Trump will face a battle for the nomination.
Several other potential frontrunners have emerged since the former President left office.
They include GOP grandees such as Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz.
Even Mike Pence, who parted ways with Mr Trump on less than stellar terms is on the list of desirable candidates.
Recent polls suggest GOP supporters have shifted their weight behind Mr DeSantis, who presently serves as governor of Florida state.
He topped a poll released last month with a narrow lead over Mr Trump.
A straw poll conducted by the Centennial Institute, a think tank based out of Colorado Christian University, found he had support from 74.12 percent in attendance at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.
Mr Trump trailed behind by just under three percent, capturing support from 71.43 percent of responders.
He had a lead of ten votes, with 275 to Mr Trump’s 275.
Ted Cruz, the Senator from Texas, trailed behind them both with 42.86 percent.
Much of the support behind Mr DeSantis comes from his handling of the pandemic in Florida.
He was notoriously resistant to any lockdown measure or restriction in his state.
While Democrats excoriated the state chief, most conservatives heaped praise on him.