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Trump flirtation with 2024 run growing more serious

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Former President Trump is in discussions about announcing a 2024 campaign, sources told The Hill, with some current and former advisers believing it’s a matter of when, not if, Trump will launch a third White House bid.

Multiple sources told The Hill that a campaign announcement has already been discussed this summer, but warned that the situation remains fluid and it’s unclear when the former president could actually jump into the race.

“I think there are people who are pulling him in that direction, and he’s open to it,” said a former adviser of an announcement ahead of the midterms.

A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed there is no rush for Trump to announce his candidacy. Trump remains the most popular and influential figure in the Republican Party, the source said, and the former president could afford to wait until he has a clearer campaign infrastructure before throwing himself fully into a White House campaign.

In the meantime, advisers close to the former president said Trump will continue to hold rallies for his approved candidates across the country as a way to appeal to his most ardent supporters and test possible lines of attack for a potential campaign.

Multiple outlets reported in recent days that Trump had already considered a campaign launch this month. Such an announcement would be remarkably early for a presidential campaign, with Election Day more than two years away.

However, some Republicans fear that if Trump proceeded with an early campaign announcement, it could ultimately hurt the party in this year’s midterm elections by giving more weight to Democrats’ argument that the GOP remains inextricably linked to the former president. .

“I think if he announces it soon, it will be good for him, bad for the party,” said a Republican strategist. “Republicans have had great success talking about the economy and inflation and all of Joe Biden’s missteps. Nobody wants to turn around and have to talk about what Trump is doing.”

The former president’s desire to announce a campaign sooner rather than later is driven in no small part by a growing sense that such a move could help isolate him from the work of the selected House committee responsible for the riots. in the US from January 6, 2021. Capitol, according to a Trump World source.

Announcing a White House campaign would make it easier for Trump to portray the commission’s work as a partisan job designed to harm him before he ever gets a chance to respond, the source said.

Former Justice Department officials have testified publicly about Trump’s fixation on electoral fraud theories that were debunked one by one in the months following the 2020 election.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide, gave damning testimony last week that Trump was aware that some in the crowd were armed on Jan. 6 and complained that they were being kept out of the Ellipse while he was giving a speech. in which he urged supporters to go to the capital.

Early entry into the 2024 race would also likely make it harder for social media like Twitter to enforce existing bans on Trump — something Democrats and Republicans alike have acknowledged.

“If he’s the Republican nominee or if he’s a major candidate…I think probably everyone at Twitter would have a hard time saying that person should be banned from the platform,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” earlier this year.

While polls show Trump remains the top favorite for the GOP’s 2024 nomination, there are signs that he is still vulnerable to a challenge.

A University of New Hampshire Granite State poll published late last month showed him trailing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising Republican star and future 2024 nominee, in a hypothetical 2024 matchup. Similarly, another recent poll from the University of Nevada, Reno, showed that DeSantis’ favorable assessment surpasses Trump’s.

Other potential competitors for the 2024 nomination have also signaled an increasing willingness to move forward no matter what Trump does. For example, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was one of Trump’s most loyal cabinet members during his time in the White House, has said whether he takes office in 2024 will not depend on Trump’s decision.

“I’m sure it would be awkward in some ways,” Pompeo said during an appearance on CBS News’ “The Takeout” podcast last month. “I suspect it would be a little uncomfortable for him too. We worked so closely together.”

There are other reasons for Trump to wait. Formal announcement of his candidacy would lead to Federal Elections Commission requirements on disclosure of financial information, and would limit how much Trump could collect from individual donors before November 2024.

A former Trump campaign adviser said Trump will still be the favorite for the GOP nomination when competing in the 2024 race. But his path to winning the primaries will not be clear, they acknowledged, pointing to the power of potential candidates. challengers like DeSantis and the House Committee’s work to keep the events of Jan. 6 center stage.

“Ultimately, a nomination is a business decision,” said the former adviser. “Who is the best candidate to represent the party’s policies and values, but above all who can win.”