Former President Donald Trump said he has made up his mind about mounting another White House bid in 2024 and indicated that the only decision left is whether he announces before or after November’s midterm elections, a new report says.
“Well, in my own mind, I’ve already made that decision, so nothing factors in anymore. In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision,” Trump told New York magazine in an interview at his golf resort in Bedminster, NJ.
Initially, the 45th president remained coy about the timing of his decision, but then continued.
“I would say my big decision will be whether I go before or after,” he said. “You understand what that means?”
He was then asked about the midterms and repeated the words.
“Do I go before or after? That will be my big decision,” Trump said. “I just think that there are certain assets to before.”
“Let people know. I think a lot of people would not even run if I did that because, if you look at the polls, they don’t even register. Most of these people. And I think that you would actually have a backlash against them if they ran. People want me to run,” he continued.
“Look,” Trump said, “I feel very confident that, if I decide to run, I’ll win.”
The interview with Trump was published on Thursday, the same day the Washington Post reported that he is looking at September for announcing his decision, with a confidante predicting that the odds are “70 to 30 that he announces before the midterms.”
Still, several sources close to the former president told the New York Post that they were unsure of Trump’s timetable after the report landed about the possible September launch.
The Washington Post reported that Trump had started meeting with advisers about who should helm a presidential campaign, and members of his team have set in motion efforts to have an online campaign structure in place in case he announces soon.
Trump has also been huddling with top donors in expectation of a 2024 run.
“If Trump is going to run, the sooner he gets in and talks about winning the next election, the better,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the newspaper. “It will refocus his attention — less grievance, more about the future.”
Around the time the New York report broke online, Trump posted on his Truth Social media platform, linking to an article in American Greatness predicting a red wave in the midterms and Republicans regaining control of the House and Senate.
Even as the midterms loom, the article said people are already looking ahead to potential standard-bearers in 2024.
“We should start with the fact that Donald Trump is going to run again,” the report said.
There has been ongoing speculation about Trump’s presidential goals, including whether he would announce on the Fourth of July.
But Trump, who launched his 2016 presidential bid by riding down an escalator in Trump Tower, dismissed the idea that he would even consider using the nation’s birthday as a backdrop, calling the reports “fake news.”
“I don’t think we have to compete with that,” he told New York. “First of all, a lot of people aren’t around on the Fourth of July. It’s not a great time to do an announcement. … I never said I was going to. That was just fake news. Somebody said that I was going to. I don’t think it was any of our people.”
Trump also said in the interview that he wasn’t worried about other Republicans — mostly notably Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who might challenge him in a Republican primary.
He discounted DeSantis, who has been making headlines in the Sunshine State over his opposition to coronavirus restrictions, as a rival.
“I don’t feel that. I endorsed Ron, he was at 3, and as soon as I endorsed him, he went to first place, he was not going to win,” Trump said, moments later clarifying that he was referring to DeSantis running for governor.
“No, I meant when he ran for governor, as you know, he was running and then he came to me for an endorsement because he was not, you know, he was at 3 percent,” Trump said.
With the endorsement, Trump said “the race was over, and I think Ron knows that better than anybody. We have a good relationship, and, uhh, there may be some others soon, but that’s okay.”
Trump also referenced a recent poll that showed him leading DeSantis 58% to 16%.
In a New York Times/Siena College poll released Tuesday, Trump held a 24 percentage-point lead over the Florida governor.
But that same poll found that in a hypothetical matchup with President Biden, 44% of registered voters would pick Biden to the 41% who would vote for Trump.
Some GOP strategists told the Washington Post that they worried about how an announcement by Trump before the midterms would affect the party’s candidates, noting that he has seen his support among Republicans slipping amid the public hearings being conducted by the House Jan. 6 select committee on his role in the Capitol riots.
The focus should be on the sky-high inflation rate and the economy’s devastating effects on American families, not on Trump.
“Of all the selfish things he does every minute of every day, it would probably be the most,” a prominent Republican strategist told the newspaper. “Everything we are doing that is not talking about the economy is going to be a disaster.”
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