Revisiting 2016 campaign, Trump launches reelection bid in Florida
Despite having 23 Democratic challengers and one Republican vying to unseat President Trump, his kickoff campaign rally on Tuesday night appeared to be more concerned with past grievances about the 2016 election and his former opponent Hillary Clinton during the official kickoff of his 2020 campaign in Orlando, Florida
Claiming that the "system" was "rigged" against him, Mr. Trump accused federal investigators of giving Clinton and her aides a "free pass" in the probe into her use of a private email service to conduct official communications during her tenure as secretary of state.
Mr. Trump suggested Attorney General William Barr, who has been accused by Democrats of acting like the president's personal lawyer, could take another look at the matter. "We now have a great attorney general," the president told his ardent supporters. "Let's see what happens."
The president only named two of his potential general election opponents -- former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- during the rally.
In another revisit of the tumultuous 2016 campaign, the president repeatedly praised former Republican primary rivals Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- who were both in attendance Tuesday. Although the two senators were prominent GOP critics of the president, they've both embraced him in recent months and are now some of his staunchest allies in Congress.
The rally in Central Florida follows the abrupt ouster of several pollsters in Mr. Trump's campaign after poll numbers showing him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, the early Democratic front-runner, in several key states were leaked to the press.
Rubio and Graham in attendance
Despite the repeated themes from the 2016 campaign, two of Mr. Trump's biggest critics from 2016 who now support the president were in attendance: Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.
Mr. Trump called out both Graham and Rubio, who is the senior senator representating the state where the rally was held. Both Graham and Rubio ran for president in 2016, with Rubio calling Mr. Trump a "con artist" then.
Rubio sarcastically tweeted "BREAKING: In an unprecedented move a Republican Senator attended a rally in his home state in support of the re-election of a Republican President" in response to a tweet by The New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro saying it was "very strange" to see him there.
Sarah Sanders: "You've made America great"
Mr. Trump invited outgoing press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to join him on stage, calling her "so good, so talented, so wonderful."
Sanders announced last week she would be leaving the White House at the end of this month. Although she has not said if she will be running for office, Mr. Trump said "he had a feeling" she would be running for a "certain gubernatorial position."
"This has been truly the honor of a lifetime and one of the most incredible experiences anyone can imagine," Sanders said. "And that's because I've had the chance to be on the front row of history and watch you drastically change our country for the better. You've made America great, you're going to continue to make America great. I couldn't be prouder to be part of your team."
Sanders said she is "going to spend a little more time with my kids," but noted that "no one will be a stronger voice or advocate for this president."
Mr. Trump then said "we're going to miss her" and called her a "warrior."
Revisiting 2016 election, Trump slams Clinton email controversy
Although nearly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates are currently vying to thwart his reelection bid in 2020, Mr. Trump seemed to be more concerned with past grievances about the 2016 election and his former opponent Hillary Clinton -- who he mentioned several times.
Claiming that the "system" was "rigged" against him, the president accused federal investigators of giving Clinton and her aides a "free pass" in the probe into her use of a private email service to conduct official communications during her tenure as secretary of state.
Mr. Trump suggested, however, that Attorney General William Barr, who has been accused by Democrats of acting like the president's personal lawyer, could take another look at the matter.
"We now have a great attorney general," the president said. "Let's see what happens."
Trump says only George Washington appointed more judges than him
Mr. Trump said the only president who has appointed more judges than him was America's first commander-in-chief, George Washington.
"One person has a higher percentage than your favorite president, Donald Trump. Do you know who that president is? He's got a higher percentage than me and it's devastating. His name is George Washington," the president told his ardent supporters.
"George is at 100% and there's no way I will get there no matter what I tell you," he added.
Trump pledges to deport "millions"
Before departing for the rally, Mr. Trump vowed to deport "millions" of undocumented immigrants.
On Twitter, he suggested that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would conduct a massive operation next week to round up "millions" of people and remove them from the country.
"They will be removed as fast as they come in," the president wrote.
One senior administration official told CBS News the operation -- which is likely to spark outrage among immigrant rights groups and Democrats -- would target more than a million immigrants with pending removal orders.
Campaign chief Brad Parscale predicts "landslide" victory in 2020
Mr. Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale is predicting the president will win even more electoral votes than in 2016, saying he expects "an electoral landslide" while dismissing independent polling that shows the president trailing top Democrats.
Parscale made the comments in an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, hours ahead of Mr. Trump's rally in Orlando.
"I think we win Florida, yeah," Parscale told Garrett. "I think we win in an electoral landslide as of today."
Asked to define an electoral landslide, Parscale responded, "I think even more electoral points than he did last time." Mr. Trump won 306 electoral votes in 2016 (though two faithless electors declined to cast their votes for him, leaving him with 304 officially). A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.
Campaign plays defense after grim internal poll leaks
Over the weekend, the president's 2020 campaign fired three members of its polling team after a leak to the media revealed that an internal poll commissioned by the campaign showed Mr. Trump behind Biden in several battleground states.
According to the internal polling numbers, Biden had comfortable leads in hypothetical match-ups against the president in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida -- states that helped Mr. Trump garner enough electoral votes to win the presidency in 2016. In deep-red Texas, Biden trailed Mr. Trump by only 2 percenatge points.
The president's team dismissed the poll -- conducted in March -- as old and one that calculated a "worst-case scenario" which assumed a surge in turnout of Democratic voters. Mr. Trump, however, has repeatedly denied the existence and veracity of any unfavorable polling, including the March internal poll during an interview with ABC News.