The political world remains on pins and needles as it awaits the official launch of former President Donald Trump’s expected third run for the White House in 2024.
Journalists and political staffers lit up their phones early Friday after a pair of reports in Axios and the New York Times that Trump advisers have been talking up a Nov. 14 launch, but Republicans in touch with the former president told Yahoo News that is not the official date.
The intense focus on when Trump will formally announce underscores the fact that Trump remains the most powerful force in Republican politics and the one figure who will set the playing field for the Republican nomination in 2024.
Behind the scenes, Trump’s advisers and others close to him have been debating with the former president about how and when to launch his third bid. One of the central concerns, according to interviews with those Republicans over the past few months, has been weighing whether to jump in immediately or wait until next year.
Announcing now could box out some big-name competitors like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and pressure megadonors to support Trump after they cooled on him in the wake of his 2020 loss. But the impact of launching this month could easily fizzle as Americans clock out at the end of November for Thanksgiving and head into the December holiday season, according to one Republican in touch with Trump.
Trump is also expected to wait until after the dust settles from the 2022 midterm elections, on Nov. 8, before jumping in, so he can either claim credit for big victories among House and Senate Republican candidates or avoid blame for a disappointing showing next Tuesday, the Republican said.
And that dust from 2022 may not settle until after the new year, with the possibility of close races moving into recounts, candidates refusing to accept election results and a good chance that Georgia’s tight Senate race goes into a run-off battle.
“He’d like to have done it already, I give him credit for” not announcing yet, said longtime adviser Kellyanne Conway on Thursday, in an appearance at the Christian Science Monitor Breakfast event.
Conway said that some of Trump’s advisers, particularly those she said were looking to get on his campaign payroll early and cash in on a third run, had been pushing him to jump into the race this past summer, but she said she counseled him to wait until after the midterms and take a victory lap on expected Republican wins.
Conway, who was Trump’s last campaign manager in 2016 when he won the White House, said that Trump in effect has been campaigning nonstop since he first descended the golden escalator at Trump Tower in June 2015, noting his steady pace of rallies around the country for more than seven years now.
“He never stopped campaigning, even into his post-presidency years, and I would say it’s hard for me to see [that President] Joe Biden ever started campaigning,” Conway said, alluding to the possible rematch between Trump and Biden. “Don’t miss how President Trump is running for president again, if he would like, because he actually never stops being part of it.”
Trump is expected to further discuss the matter Tuesday when supporters, aides and advisers gather for an Election Night watch party at his Mar-a-Lago estate in South Florida.