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Trump launches re-election campaign, presents himself as victim

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FLORIDA US: President Donald Trump formally launched his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday by presenting himself as the same insurgent who shook up the Washington establishment four years ago and who is now a victim of an attempted ouster by Democrats.

At a packed rally in Florida, Mr Trump made clear he would run for re-election as an outsider.

Mr Trump said his Democratic challengers would radically change the US and seek to legalise migrants c so they could vote and boost the Democratic political base.

Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it" and that it is "not going to happen".

"We believe our country should be a sanctuary for law-abiding citizens, not for criminal aliens," Mr Trump said.

Two dozen Democrats are competing to face off against him in the 2020 election. Mr Trump called his opponents a "radical left-wing mob" who would bring socialism to the US.

"A vote for any Democrat is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream," he said.

Over the course of his speech, Mr Trump blasted the news media as "fake news", took credit for a strong economy, said he was putting the heat on China on trade and vowed to protect rights to own guns.

He also declared himself a victim and aired his grievances.

He made an issue of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"If the economy stays strong, he is very likely to get re-elected," said Trump confidant Newt Gingrich.

But the aftermath of the Russia probe, coupled with a presidential style marked by name-calling, has undermined confidence in Mr Trump. He also stirred division with his policies on immigration and unsettled business and farm groups with his use of tariffs in trade spats with China and allies. - REUTERS