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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Liam Buckler

Donald Trump's critical do-or-die year in 2023 as he desperately bids for US presidency

Donald Trump is facing a critical do-or-die year in his bid for presidency with his political career resting on a knife-edge.

Voters who were originally attracted to Trump's brand of brashness, hyperbole and his America first attitude in 2016 are starting to turn their backs on the 76-year-old, who is spending Christmas at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida, US.

With four criminal charges recommended by the House against the former president and some of his advisers over the January 6 2021 riots at the Capitol, his bid to gain the Republican nomination hangs by a thread.

Trump faces an unprecedented charge of insurrection which saw c ommittee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney comment: "No man who ever behaved that way at that moment in time should ever serve in public office again."

Also, yesterday saw Democrats in Congress release of his 'unusual' and 'complicated' tax returns which have revealed he paid no taxes in 2020. They provide the most detailed picture to date of his finances over a six-year period, including his time in the White House, when he fought to keep the information private in a break with decades of precedent.

He is hoping to win the right to lead the Republicans ahead of the 2024 election (Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Many experts believe the information gleaned from the tax returns will have little bearing on his bid to run again, but it remains to be seen how any further revelations from the massive document dump will play with the public.

The insurrection charge however has led to Trump's Republican base turning against him with recent polling showing voters leaning towards Florida governor Ron DeSantis by a 56% to 33% margin, according to a recent USA and Suffolk University poll.

Pollsters believe his conservative base are wanting "Trumpism without Trump" as November's midterm elections saw voters turning their backs on Trump's handpicked candidates.

Instead voters are leaning towards 44-year-old Florida governor Ron De Santis.

De Santis won by more than a million and half votes in November and was re-elected with the largest margin in Florida for 40 years.

The former president knows he's falling out of favour with his base and even told his competitor not to run before the midterms: "I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly."

Trump will be without his daughter Ivanka on the campaign trail after she stepped back from politics (TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Trump expressed his concern at his rival in a rambling speech when the governor won by a huge landslide in Florida.

He said after the result: "The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future.’

"Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.”

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, believes the threat De Santis poses leaves Trump unsure of how to beat his opponent.

He said: "There's a new Republican sheriff in town.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is out performing Trump in the Republican polls (AFP via Getty Images)

"DeSantis outpolls Trump not only among the general electorate, but also among these Republican-leaning voters who have been the former president's base.

"Republicans and conservative independents increasingly want Trumpism without Trump."

But as Trump looks to work his way back into Republican contention he has to do it without one of his key allies - daughter Ivanka, who ruled herself out of her dad's election bid.

Ivanka said last month: "I love my father very much. This time around I am choosing to prioritise my young children and the private life we are creating as a family. I do not plan to be involved in politics."

She and husband Jared Kushner will not be campaigning on behalf of Trump president as he tries to relaunch his bid for the White House in 2024.

His daughter has also not backed her father's false claims the election was stolen.

She told the January 6 Committee responsible for investigating the 2021 riots at the Capitol. "I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying."

Since leaving the White House the former president has been plotting his way back at Mar-a-Lago (AFP via Getty Images)

Instead his inner-circle will consists of his wife Melania, children Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump, political strategist Jason Miller, former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and his two aides Natalie Harp and Molly Michael.

However, there has been criticism levelled towards Trump's key allies particularly his two inexperienced advisors Harp and Michael who are allegedly too scared to warn the former president from making bad decisions.

Just last month the former president wined and dined the controversial Ye - formerly Kanye West - who has made antisemitic comments, along with Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.

David Urban, a former Trump advisor, told the Washington Post: "He needs someone there to say, "Here's a really bad idea, and this is why." I don't think he has that kind of crowd around him right now. Nor does the president want anybody like that."

After losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden, Trump was expected to return to his businesses but instead has focused all his time on the result of the election - which he incorrectly insists was stolen from him.

According to the Washington Post, Trump has been left isolated and starved of attention at Mar-a-Lago.

Rather than moving on from his time in the White House the former president spends his time playing 18 holes of golf a day whilst being accompanied by his two key aids who try to raise his spirits with positive news.

Joe Biden has yet to confirm he will run in 2024 (Anna Moneymaker/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

One aide asked him if he was going to set up a library or a post-presidential foundation but he said he wasn't interested, according to those closest to him.

They believe Trump is more interested in winning the election than his post-presidential legacy.

But after Trump's handpicked candidates for the midterms poorly performing, he has been struggling to think of ways to get on the front foot.

The only announcement he's made is Trump-themed action-hero digital collector cards which sold out after selling at $99 (£81).

With 2023 around the corner and the Republican presidential nomination looming, Trump has to quickly get a grip on events before the new year.

If his aides and inner circle fail to come up with a way of convincing his Republican base he's their man again, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is waiting in the wings to "Make America Great Again".

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