Former President Donald Trump seems to be going full speed ahead as he moves toward a likely announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday night at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Even though Trump’s allies have been publicly and privately urging him to wait to make his “special announcement” until after the Dec. 6 Senate runoff election in Georgia, which could decide which party controls the Senate, Trump seems to be going ahead with what he calls his “special announcement.”
A source close to the former president told Fox News that Trump is “going to announce on Tuesday,” even though some people in the former president’s circle have told him not to. “I know for sure that’s what he’s going to do.”
Jason Miller, a top official in the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns of the former president, said on Stephen Bannon’s radio show on Friday that “President Trump is going to announce that he’s running for president on Tuesday. And it’s going to be a very professional, very buttoned-up announcement.”
And he pushed back against the criticism of many Republicans who say that the former president’s support of far-right MAGA loyalists in GOP primaries hurt the party in Tuesday’s general election, turning a possible red wave into more of a trickle. Trump said in an interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday that he still plans to make a “major” announcement on Tuesday.
Trump told Brooke Singman of Fox News Digital, “We had a lot of success, so why would anything change?” He was talking about his upcoming announcement.
But if the former president officially announces a run in 2024, it will change right away what Trump can and can’t do in the future.
Campaign finance laws would go into effect right away, limiting the donations he could accept from individual donors and putting limits on how he could use the huge war chest that his Save America political action committee has built up over the past two years.
Corey Lewandowski, a longtime top adviser to Trump, has told him to wait before making a 2024 announcement. He says that Trump is the most popular and influential politician in the GOP, the most aggressive fundraiser among the grassroots, and the overwhelming leader in early 2024 GOP nomination polls.
“Once you become an official candidate, there are limitations on what you can and cannot do. Being a non-candidate is actually better for a guy with 100% name recognition and $100 million in the bank,” said Lewandowski, who managed Trump’s historic 2016 presidential primary campaign and has stayed close to the former president.
The Republican National Committee (RNC), which has to stay neutral in the growing race for the GOP presidential nomination, would also stop supporting Trump if he made an announcement. The RNC has spent a lot of money to help pay some of Trump’s huge legal bills.
Fox News has heard from people in Trump’s political circle that top aides at Mar-a-Lago want him to make this announcement. One of the benefits they see of making an announcement early in 2024 is that it might get rid of some possible rivals for the nomination.
But some top Republicans laugh at the idea that Trump’s announcement would push other possible candidates out of the race.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that a Trump announcement “does not clear the field” “Everyone who wants to run will still run.”
Sununu, who hasn’t completely ruled out a run for the White House himself, said that “anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to announce a…potential presidential bid after the election but before Christmas, it’s just the worst time you could do it.” It’s not just Sununu.
Several Republican strategists who talked to Fox News disagreed with the idea that a Trump announcement would scare off potential candidates like former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, or Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, or Larry Hogan of Maryland.
Even though he said that Trump is “clearly the heavyweight. He’s the Bigfoot in the field,” longtime GOP consultant David Kochel said the former president “is not going to clear the field.:
But Kochel, who has worked on many GOP presidential campaigns, said that a Trump announcement would “speed up people’s timelines for deciding whether they go or not go. I think you’ll have some people who say they won’t run because Trump’s in. But he’s going to have one or more serious challengers who are going to make a run at him.”
“I would imagine by the end of the first quarter of 2023 we’ll probably know who’s really going to get in,” Kochel said.
A Trump announcement could also lead to a new round of attacks from the former president against his possible rivals for the nomination. This was a common tactic for Trump during the heated 2016 GOP presidential nomination race.
This past week, Trump took multiple shots at DeSantis, who was re-elected in a landslide in Florida on Tuesday. At the end of the week, he also yelled at Youngkin. But the former president’s verbal attacks seemed to fall flat and drew criticism from conservatives.
Aside from Trump’s announcement, the week after the midterms will also see the first real Republican 2024 cattle calls.
The first event is the annual winter meeting of the Republican Governors Association, which is happening this year near Orlando, Florida. DeSantis, Youngkin of Virginia, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Hogan, Sununu, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska are among the attendees who have said they are thinking about running for president or who are seen by political experts as possible candidates.
Late last month, Fox News was the first to report that 11 GOP politicians who are seen as possible or likely candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 will attend the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas at the end of the week.
They are Pence, Pompeo, Haley, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, DeSantis, Hogan, Sununu, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
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