Trump teases "very big announcement" in election-eve Ohio rally — after calling Pelosi an "animal"

What might he announce next week at Mar-a-Lago? Meanwhile, he attacks DOJ, lets J.D. Vance talk for two minutes

By Areeba Shah

Staff Writer

Published November 8, 2022 12:22PM (EST)

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump returned to a key battleground state on the night before the midterm elections, supposedly to support Ohio U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance. But Vance appeared only briefly at the Monday night rally in Dayton, with Trump using the event to tease the possible or likely announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign.

There was some pre-game speculation that Trump would actually declare his 2024 presidential bid at the Dayton rally, but it didn't happen — and not until wasn't the end of his lengthy speech that he announce, reality TV-style, that he would make a "very big announcement" on Nov. 15 at Mar-a-Lago.

Over nearly two hours in Dayton, Trump extolled the many accomplishments of his term as president before pivoting to the dark themes of his standard stump speech, claiming that drugs are pouring across the southern border, attacking the "fake news media" (as per usual) and protesting that he has been the target of endless witch hunts, hoaxes and other abuses for six years.

"When I see what's going on, it's a shame," Trump told the enthusiastic crowd. "Our country is really going to hell. We have a weaponized Department of Justice and a weaponized FBI, including of course the raid of Mar-a-Lago in the document hoax case. Totally violating my Fourth Amendment rights and no president has ever been treated this way."

Vance, the first-time Senate candidate on whose behalf the rally was purportedly held, spoke for less than two minutes. Trump was clearly the main attraction, calling for "a humiliating rebuke to the radical left," attacking President Joe Biden and blaming the Justice Department for failing to investigate his false claims of voter fraud. 

"We've got a Federal Bureau of Investigation that won't allow bad election-changing facts to be presented to the public and which offers $1 million to a writer of fiction about Donald Trump to lie and say it was fact and pays a man $200,000 to get Trump, go out and get Trump," he said. "Where Hunter Biden's laptop from hell was Russian disinformation and the FBI knew it wasn't and a Department of Justice that refuses to investigate egregious acts of voting irregularities and fraud. And we have a man who is the worst president in the history of our country."

If the points of reference in Trump's monologue were not always clear, he fulfilled his partisan duties, urging the crowd to support a variety of Republican candidates in the Buckeye State, including Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, both up for re-election. He also gave a shoutout to Republican congressional candidate Max Miller, a former aide with the Trump campaign and White House, saying Miller "is going to be a great congressman."

Voting for an "incredible slate of true American First Republicans up and down the ballots," Trump said, would allow Republicans to retake control of Congress and end House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's career. He described Pelosi as an "animal" before apparently realizing that the remark might appear insensitive in the aftermath of a violent attack on Pelosi's husband. 

"They'll say, 'Oh, what a horrible thing he said,' " Trump continued. "She impeached me twice for nothing. Nothing."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., the GOP superstar who was among the rally speakers, called for impeaching Biden and denounced accommodations for trans people. She called on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis not to run for president in 2024, saying that Republicans need Trump "back in the White House."

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When DeWine appeared on stage, the crowd booed him, likely because the Ohio governor backed COVID restrictions early in the pandemic. DeWine ignored the taunts and delivered a quick speech claiming his administration had cut taxes and funded police.

Trump appeared amused, telling the crowd, "Well, that was a very nice welcome, but he's up by 25 points," referring to DeWine's gubernatorial campaign against Democrat Nan Whaley.

Trump urged supporters to support a laundry list of Republicans both in Ohio and across the nation. "It was hard-working patriots like you, who built this country and it is hard-working patriots like you who are going to save our country," the twice-impeached ex-president told the throng. "We will stand up to the radical left Democrats and we will fight for America like no one has ever, ever, ever fought before."

By Areeba Shah

Areeba Shah is a staff writer at Salon covering news and politics. Previously, she was a research associate at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center, where she covered how COVID-19 impacted migrant farmworkers in the Midwest.

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Aggregate Donald Trump Elections J.d. Vance Nancy Pelosi Ohio Republicans