President Trump kicks off 2020 campaign at Orlando rally

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 06:47:33-04

ORLANDO, Fla. — President Donald Trump officially kicked off his reelection campaign Tuesday at a Florida rally where he exhorted thousands of rollicking supporters to keep advancing his political movement to put America's "own citizens first."

Thousands packed the Amway Center in Orlando on Tuesday night to watch the president officially announce he's running for a second term.

The president was joined by first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and second lady Karen Pence.

Earlier Tuesday, President Trump tweeted that the rally was "Going to be wild."

Trump made border security a focus of his first presidential run and returned to the topic frequently on Tuesday in Florida.

Trump says millions of low-wage workers who come to the U.S. illegally compete for wages and opportunities against the most vulnerable Americans.

Trump is also claiming that schoolchildren across the country are being threatened by MS-13 gang members and blames "Democratic policies."

He says if Democratic officials "had to send their children to those overcrowded, overburdened schools, they would not tolerate it for one minute."

President Trump exhorted thousands of rollicking supporters to keep advancing his political movement to put America's "own citizens first."

Trump reminisced about his 2016 campaign, describing it is as a "great political movement" and "a defining moment in American history."

And he said he had fundamentally upended Washington, staring down "a corrupt and broken political establishment" and restoring a government "of, for and by the people."

Vice President Mike Pence offered a more direct pitch.

"We're here for one reason and reason only: America needs four more years of President Donald Trump," he said, prompting a "Four more years!" chant.

"It's on," Pence added. "Time for round two."

Trump complained he had been "under assault from the very first day" of his presidency by a "fake news media" and "illegal witch hunt" that had tried to keep him and his supporters down.

And he painted a disturbing picture of what life would look like if he loses in 2020, accusing his critics of "un-American conduct" and telling the crowd that Democrats "want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it."

Following the rally in Orlando on Tuesday, the president will travel to South Florida. Air Force One is scheduled to land at Miami International Airport at 11 p.m.

According to the Miami Herald, President Trump will attend a Republican fundraiser on Wednesday at his Trump National Doral resort.

Reporting from the Associated Press was used in this report.