Last Thursday, former White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway claimed that while Donald Trump would make a 2024 announcement “soon,” he has wisely decided not to kick off his candidacy until after the midterms in order to avoid overshadowing the GOP candidates. But new reporting from this week suggests that he may not be able to resist making himself the center of attention for a single day.
The Washington Post that Trump reveals “set off a scramble Monday in the Republican Party after he threatened to upend the midterm elections by announcing his 2024 presidential bid on the eve of voting.” According to the outlet, the ex-president told people close to him today that he was thinking of using a Monday night rally in Ohio to announce his long-teased candidacy, three people familiar with the matter said. Which apparently “prompt[ed] a chain of phone calls from party leaders who have tried for months to keep him from announcing until after the midterms,” with some advisers reportedly insisting that “efforts needed to be made to talk him out of announcing.” (Others were said to be “egging him on to jump in.”)
The people in the “Please, God, do whatever you have to stop this guy from announcing camp” believe that an announcement on Monday would energize turnout among Democratic voters, especially in neck-and-neck Senate races. “It just boggles the mind why he would hand that to Democrats at this late hour,” a Republican strategist told reporters Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey. “Making the conversation about himself and risking losses across the map that otherwise might have been wins would be a bad way to two-step into a presidential race.” Among those who are reportedly terrified about the idea of Trump announcing tonight are RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
But Trump, per the Post, “has been determined in recent weeks to get credit for the midterm results should Republicans do well, and according to advisers, he has grown frustrated watching the large crowds cheer for Florida [governor] Ron DeSantis, whom he views as a threat for the 2024 nomination.” There’s also the matter of several potential criminal indictments, which he apparently believes he can neutralize (or make go away) if he is a candidate, having a stronger ground to claim political persecution.
Of course, no one actually knows when Trump, who listens to the advice of no one, will announce. But one thing that does appear clear is that a third run is in the offing, and if his Republican candidates of choice emerge from the midterms with victories, it’ll all but hand him the 2024 nomination, and possibly the White House. “If this is a big night for Republicans, and they think it’s going to be, that will be a major, major victory for Donald Trump and his followers will be greatly energized,” David Gergen, a former White House adviser to four presidents, told CNN. “If they come up with anything like that kind of victory, if they turn two or three of the seats in the Senate, they control the House, it’s going to be hard to stop Trump within the Republican Party. He will be, in effect, the very likely nominee.”
Remember when Elon Musk said Twitter must be “politically neutral”?
Like so many things he’s said before, he was apparently just kidding about that.