Trump promises to plant American flag on Mars and build nuclear weapon shield

Donald Trump floated a range of bizarre ideas as part of a speech he gave announcing he will run for president in 2024, including a mission in space.

The former US President mentioned a spaceflight to Mars where he claimed the US would "plant our beautiful American flag very soon" and a defence shield "to protect our people from the unthinkable threat of nuclear weapons".

Trump has long been expected to announce he is in the running for 2024, though the recent midterm elections, where Republicans did much worse than predicted, did cast doubt on his ability to repeat his 2016 victory.

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In the speech, given at his Mar-a-Lago resort, he said: "We will expand the frontiers of human knowledge and will extend the horizons of human achievement. And we will plant our beautiful American flag very soon on the surface of Mars."

He also revamped an old idea from former US President Ronald Reagan, by proposing a nuclear weapons shield.

"To protect our people from the unthinkable threat of nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles, the United States must also build a state-of-the art next generation missile defense shield – we need it," he said.

"The power of these missiles, and the power of a word I refuse to say – nuclear – we have to have it."

The speech was also filled with the usual barbs against key Democrats and the "deep state" and the need to "drain the swamp".

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Trump said: "Three years ago when I left office, the United States stood ready for its golden age. Our nation was at the pinnacle of power, prosperity and prestige – towering above all rivals vanquishing all enemies and striding into the future confident, resourceful."

He has been blamed by a number of high-ranking Republicans for their poor showing in the mid-term elections, including by senate leader Mitch McConnell who said independent voters now had the "impression of many of the people in our party and leadership roles is that they are involved in chaos"


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