Aides to former President Donald Trump are quietly laying the groundwork for a third White House run in 2024 — with an announcement possibly coming the week after the Nov. 8 midterm elections to take advantage of an expected Republican landslide, according to a report out Wednesday.
“I’m like 95% he’s going to run,” Reince Priebus, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, told the Associated Press.
“The real question is are other big challengers going to run?” Priebus added. “If President Trump runs, he will be very difficult for any Republican to defeat.”
The 45th president is facing a number of investigations –including probes focusing on his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and efforts to influence the vote count in Georgia after the 2020 election.
But staffers say he is itching to rejoin the political fray.
Trump has hinted that he would mount another presidential bid since leaving the White House in 2021, and aides and allies are zeroing in on the two-plus weeks between Election Day and Thanksgiving as a possible window for an announcement.
The strongest indication Trump will run again came last month during a rally in Texas when the 45th president told his supporters, “I will probably have to do it again.”
Still, those close to Trump caution that the former president hasn’t made a decision and that things could change quickly depending on whether election results are delayed because of recounts or a runoff in the Georgia Senate race.
Trump, in an interview on Tuesday, predicted a red wave that would give Republicans at least a majority in the House of Representatives.
“I think that we have a good chance at the Senate,” Trump said on “The Chris Stigall Show.”
“Good chance, we had no chance three months ago,” he said. “Now we have a chance of getting 51, 52 [seats]. And I think the House is going to do pretty well, I think we’re going to be up by maybe a substantial number.”
Recent polls have shown that most voters are concerned about inflation and the economy — and have been throwing their support behind Republicans in the last few months.
A Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday found that 46% of registered voters said they would back the Republican candidate in their congressional district while 44% would support the Democrat. A CNN poll released Wednesday found Republicans hitting 51% on the generic ballot, four percentage points ahead of Democrats.
At the same time, some Trump loyalists had cautioned him to wait until after the elections to avoid making the midterms a referendum on him.
And some believe he won’t follow through with a third bid over fears he would be defeated a second time or that he may not end up as the Republican front-runner, especially since a number of high-profile hopefuls appear to be poised to throw their hat in the ring.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to win reelection next week, is among Trump’s most likely challengers.
Other Republicans waiting in the wings include former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s onetime Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
But while Trump aides mull the time and place for a 2024 announcement, the former president has been crisscrossing the country to campaign for Republican midterm candidates in the hope that their success would propel his candidacy.
He has held 30 rallies in 17 states so far, not including virtual appearances and candidate fundraisers, and plans to hit Ohio and Pennsylvania, two swing states with key Senate races, before Election Day.
He has also ratcheted up spending for GOP candidates, with his MAGA Inc. super PAC dropping more than $16.4 million on ads in a number of competitive states and more coming before Nov. 8.
Meanwhile, the former president’s Save America PAC says Trump has raised nearly $350 million for Republican candidates and committees this election cycle.