Donald Trump announced that he will again run for president, telling supporters that "America's comeback starts right now".
Speaking to cheering supporters late on Tuesday in a flag-festooned ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Mr Trump painted a bleak picture of a "failing" America and promised he would fix it if he is elected in 2024.
"In order to make America great and glorious again I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Mr Trump said as supporters yelled: "USA, USA".
He said the US had been "embarrassed, humiliated and weakened for all to see" under President Joe Biden, who beat Mr Trump by seven million votes in 2020 in an election that the former president still falsely insists was "stolen" from him through a Democratic conspiracy.
Mr Trump's announcement was long expected and he had teased it in recent weeks. Associates had urged him to postpone his candidacy after last week's midterm elections, where many of the candidates he backed lost, including celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania.
Senior Republican Party figures and conservative media outlets have publicly turned on the former president after an expected "red wave" of conservative victories largely fizzled.
Mr Trump's team filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission setting up a committee called "Donald JTrump for President 2024."
Mr Trump, 76, remains enormously popular among the hard right, "Make America Great Again" faction of conservative voters despite facing escalating criminal investigations.
While it is far from certain he will win his party's nomination, Mr Trump's early entrance into the 2024 presidential race will ensure he remains a force to contend with.
"It's basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race, and it's like three strikes and you're out," Maryland's departing Republican Governor Larry Hogan told CNN.
He was referring to Mr Trump's loss of the House of Representatives in 2018, the presidency in 2020 and the poor Republican showing in the 2022 midterms.
"Donald Trump kept saying, 'we're gonna be winning so much, we'll get tired of winning'. Well, I'm tired of losing. I mean, that's all he's done."
No one else has yet declared their intention to run for president, but Mr Trump's former vice president Mike Pence is expected to do so, as is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Republican establishment appears to be coalescing around Mr DeSantis, who easily won re-election while Trump-anointed candidates elsewhere floundered.
He backed dozens of extremist candidates who propagated his claims that Joe Biden only won the 2020 election as the result of a broad conspiracy.
Even though court and state election officials rejected Mr Trump's election claims, about two thirds of Republican voters still believe Mr Biden's victory was illegitimate, polls show.
In a year where Mr Biden's approval rating is stuck at about 40 per cent, inflation is soaring and the economy is uncertain, the Democrats bucked historical trends and overperformed at the midterms.
Voter anger over the Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights offset concerns over high inflation, and most of the electorate was wary of picking Republican candidates who repeated Mr Trump's election lies.
Mr Trump's speech on Tuesday largely revisited old themes and grievances. He decried Mr Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan, which followed through on a deal Mr Trump cut with the Taliban, as "perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country, where we lost lives".
He also said America was in the midst of an illegal immigrant "invasion" and attacked Mr Biden's energy policies, saying he had "intentionally surrendered" energy independence to pursue a green agenda, although high petrol prices are being driven by global factors including Russia's war in Ukraine.
Mr Trump has taken note of the support Mr DeSantis is drawing. The former president has criticised his one-time protege, calling him "Ron DeSanctimonious" and suggesting that he would perform better against the governor in an election.