Stephen K. Bannon highlighted this story from Politico today that shows growing interest (and concern) from the left that President Trump will run for re-election in 2024.
The former president is signaling a heightened interest in a rematch with Joe Biden â€” and laying the necessary groundwork.
By MERIDITH MCGRAW and MARC CAPUTO
Boots on the ground in Iowa. Accelerated fundraising. More national media interviews. A flood of new press statements. A rise in attack ads on the web.
With a flurry of activity from his main political committee and hints dropped in private conversations with confidantes and advisers, Donald Trump is signaling a heightened interest in reclaiming the White House â€” and laying the necessary groundwork to do it.
Since his November defeat, Trump and his allies have fanned the notion that he will seek a rematch in 2024. Thatâ€™s nothing new â€” prior to his first bid for president, Trump feinted and flirted with runs for president for decades without pulling the trigger.
â€œTrump sees Biden is on the ropes. He wants to throw punches as a combatant, not a heckler from the stands,â€ said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, adding that Trump is in no rush to announce, though, because â€œthe base is rightly loyal to him. And a good rule in politics is to be a candidate for as short a time as necessary.
Gaetz, like the dozen Trump advisers and friends interviewed for this article, declined to disclose his conversations within the organization or with Trump. But he said itâ€™s more likely than not Trump takes the plunge, especially after the 2022 midterm elections if the GOP takes back one or both chambers of Congress.
Trump, in recent interviews, has shied away from divulging specifics about his plans, but heâ€™s privately suggested to others heâ€™s running. Heâ€™s also paying attention to the finer details behind the scenes, such as making editing suggestions to his web ads to make them harder hitting against Biden.
His operation is likewise taking concrete steps to enhance his profile and position him for a potential campaign. In addition to hiring a new communications staffer to keep up with the increased activity, several rallies have been added recently to Trumpâ€™s fall schedule â€” there are plans forÂ events in the first-in-the-nation presidential state of IowaÂ and the critical swing-state of Florida.
Perhaps more revealing, less than a month ago the PAC announced it hired two top operatives from Iowa dedicated to â€œadvancing Save Americaâ€™s goals of electing strong, pro-Trump, America First conservatives.â€
The Iowa staffers also serve another purpose, Trump advisers say: they can keep an eye on the other potential Republican presidential candidates flooding the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
One person who has discussed Trumpâ€™s plans but declined to comment on the record to speak more freely said that â€œhe really hasnâ€™t decided, but we all think heâ€™ll run â€¦ he wants to get in a position to where itâ€™s a turnkey operation once he says yes. So heâ€™s maximizing his position â€¦ the PAC is ostensibly to help win back the House and the Senate. If he does that, it makes his position stronger.â€
Nearly every poll shows that Trump, at this point, has little to fear from others in a Republican primary. The top potential GOP candidates in 2024 have said they wouldnâ€™t run against him â€” or have shied away from saying they would â€” and refrained from criticizing him.
Trump campaign adviser, Jason Miller,Â declared Thursday that the chances of him runningÂ are â€œbetween 99 and 100 percent. I think he is definitely running in 2024. I had a good conversation with him last night. Iâ€™m going to go see him in another couple days here.â€
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who spoke with Trump this week, voiced similar opinions in an undercover video shot Thursday by a Democratic activist, saying â€œI know so [that Trump is going to run again]. I talked to him yesterday. He’s about ready to announce after all of this craziness in Afghanistan.â€
Trumpâ€™s leadership PAC declined to comment for this story. Federal election laws limit a leadership PACâ€™s spending for announced presidential candidates. A person who is not a federal candidate can spend leadership PAC money with far fewer restrictions.
Only one former president, Grover Cleveland in 1892, has ever returned from defeat to reclaim his old office. Trump would turn 78 years old during the 2024 campaign, making him even older than Ronald Reagan when he left office at the end of his second term.
Even so, Trumpâ€™s fundraising picked up this year as heÂ raised $82 million in the first six monthsÂ in three political committees. He also stepped up the number of conservative radio interviews, sat with Sean Hannity on Fox as well as the right-wing One America News Network.
Trump has said he remains focused on Republicans winning back the House and Senate and has only teased another run by saying â€œyouâ€™ll be happyâ€ with whatever he decides.
In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business, the ex-president blamed election laws for his inability to make an announcement.
â€œThe campaign finance laws, which are antiquated and stupid, OK? Stupid and corrupt in a way. Theyâ€™re stupid. Doesnâ€™t allow me to tell you that, OK? If I tell you that a whole host of things happen, which are bad. So I can’t tell you. I can tell you this. I love our country and youâ€™re going to be very happy,â€ Trump said.
Though deplatformed from Twitter and Facebook for spreading misinformation and sparking the Capitol riot that led to his historic second impeachment, Trump has remained the heart of the party and the most sought-after endorser in Republican primary politics. Now, instead of his flood of daily tweets, his leadership PAC sends out tweet-length statements, sometimes repeatedly in a day.
The pace notably picked up in mid-August as Biden struggled to gain public approval for his handling of the U.S. exit from Afghanistan (Biden has said he was following Trumpâ€™s planned withdrawal), â€œhe started bleeding, and Trump is like a shark. He smelled blood,â€ said one confidante with whom Trump has recently spoken. But another cautioned that â€œhe was running before the Afghanistan debacle. Itâ€™s nothing new.â€
READ THE FULL STORY at Politico.