Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez announced he is entering the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, joining a crowded GOP field looking to challenge former president Donald Trump.

Suarez, 45, filed paperwork Wednesday night with the Federal Election Commission to launch a presidential campaign, and on Thursday morning he released a campaign video titled, “I’m Running.”

“I’m running for president because I think I have a different message than what other candidates have. I’m generational,” Suarez said on “Good Morning America” Thursday. “People want someone who can unify them.”

Suarez also noted that he is the only Hispanic candidate who is running in either party.

“I’m focused on not just winning the 2024 election,” he added. “I’m focused on creating a brand of politics that can win generational elections.”

Suarez also plans to give a speech Thursday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif. He has teased the remarks as a “major announcement.”

Suarez, an attorney and former Miami city commissioner, was first elected mayor of Miami in 2017 and won reelection to his second term in 2021. He touts himself as the city’s first “Miami-born” mayor and the second Cuban American one — the first was his father, Xavier Suarez.

For months, the younger Suarez has said he was seriously considering launching a presidential bid and weighing how a campaign could affect his family. In January, he called it “a soul-searching process.”

“It is essentially the most rigorous gauntlet that any human being subjects themselves to, in terms of scrutiny, in terms of time,” Suarez told The Washington Post then. “I’m the son of a public servant. My father was a mayor. I grew up in that environment. So I’m always very conscientious of how my role as a public figure impacts my children and my family.”

Suarez faces a long and complicated path to the Republican Party’s nomination. Nearly a dozen GOP candidates have formally announced they are running, and Suarez will be the third from Florida alone. He did not vote for Trump for reelection in 2020, and some of Trump’s supporters openly mocked Suarez as a “swamp monster” on Tuesday outside the Miami federal courthouse where the former president was being arraigned.

Asked Thursday on “Good Morning America” what he thought about Trump’s indictment, Suarez tried to pivot away from the topic several times before saying, “It’s not what I would have done. I would have turned over the documents.”

“I’m not an expert on these kinds of matters, but I do want to say this: that this conversation is not a healthy conversation for the country,” Suarez said. “We should be talking about the issues that Americans care about. We shouldn’t be talking about candidates being indicted.”

Suarez also has criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), another GOP presidential candidate, for carrying out a “personal vendetta” against the Walt Disney Co. that cost the state jobs. In January, Suarez acknowledged that he and DeSantis had not spoken to one another in several years, though he brushed it off as nothing out of the ordinary.

In another potential complication for his presidential bid, Suarez is under investigation by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission for $10,000 monthly payments he received from a South Florida developer for consulting services. Suarez has denied using his office to help secure permits for a $70 million development, according to the Miami Herald.

Despite the complications, the Miami mayor cast himself as a traditional conservative, comparing himself to Ronald Reagan in his style and his belief in limited government.

“I try to be Reaganesque in terms of [being] inclusive, someone who can communicate,” Suarez told The Post in January. “I think communication is critical. I think semantics matter. The way that you say things, how you say things, is very powerful.”

Suarez has also credited his administration for much of Miami’s growth in recent years, most recently touting the city’s attributes as being the reason soccer megastar Lionel Messi chose earlier this month to sign with Major League Soccer club Inter Miami.

“He chose Miami because Miami provides the best quality of life in the world,” Suarez said last week. “This is an amazing day to be the mayor.”

In his campaign launch video, Suarez cited his parents’ achievement of “the American Dream” and described Miami as “broke and broken” when he was first elected mayor. Suarez touted innovation as a reason Miami is now “a major technology hub,” though in the video he did not specifically mention his controversial embrace of cryptocurrencies.

“In Miami, we stopped waiting for Washington to lead,” he said in the video. “America’s so-called leaders confuse being loud with actual leading. All Washington wants to do is fight with each other, instead of fighting for the people that put them in office.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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