ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - President Donald Trump made his campaign for re-election in 2020 official Tuesday at a rally in Orlando, Florida.
During what was dubbed "45 Fest," the president said he will not abandon his signature slogan, Make America Great Again, aka MAGA, but "Keep America Great" will signify his campaign for a second term.
The president said more than 120,000 free tickets were distributed in the days leading up to the rally at Orlando's Amway Center, which bears the name of his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' family company. With only 20,000 spots inside, he said many were turned away after spending more than a day camping out and being soaked by rain that moved through the area Tuesday afternoon.
However, it appeared most of the crowd outside was able to make it into the event, with a few dozen watching on a big screen outside.
Trump returned to a familiar theme of attacking old trade deals as he tries to appeal to working-class voters.
Trump said the U.S. is taking in billions of dollars in tariffs and that companies are leaving China because of the 25% tariffs he has imposed on $250 billion in Chinese imports. Trump is preparing to target $300 billion in Chinese imports that he hasn't already hit with tariffs.
Trump said the U.S. helped rebuild China, and "they took us for suckers, and that includes Obama and Biden."
The president told supporters he's fighting for them, saying, "I have news for Democrats who want to return us to the bitter failures and betrayals of the past: We are not going back."
Trump received long rounds of applause for saying he has taken on the "political machine" during his presidency and "that is why the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently."
He also complained, "for the last 2 1/2 years we have been under siege," making reference to the Special Counsel Robert Muller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
"We went through the greatest witch hunt in political history," the president told the crowd.
Despite that, Trump claimed he has accomplished more than any other president during his first 2 1/2 years in office.
He proclaimed his opponents have been given a "free pass" and is telling supporters: "They are really going after you. That's what this is all about."
Before the president took the stage, Vice President Mike Pence told the arena America needs four more years of President Donald Trump, telling the crowd of thousands: "It's on everybody. Time for Round 2."
Pence said Trump promised to make America great again, "and that's exactly what we've done."
He credited Trump with delivering 5.8 million jobs since the last election and said four more years means more jobs and judges.
"It's going to take at least four more years to drain that swamp," Pence said. "As the campaign begins, I encourage you: Bring all your enthusiasm and have faith."
Meanwhile, hundreds of anti-Trump protesters clapped and took photos when a 20-foot blimp of a snarling Trump baby in a diaper was inflated near the Orlando, Florida, arena where President Donald Trump was set to formally launch his reelection campaign.
It wasn't the only helium-filled balloon outside Tuesday's rally. Lane Blackwell, who owns a clothing and swimwear store in Orlando, had manufactured 200 small balloons with Trump in a diaper.
At least twice, groups of men wearing black Proud Boy T-shirts tried to enter the street where the anti-Trump protest was being held. They were stopped by groups of police officers and deputies.
Shaun Noble says his mother was at the Trump rally while he was at the anti-Trump protest.
He says, "It's really caused a divide in our relationship." But he says it's his right to believe what he wants and his mother's right to believe what she wants.