Michael Cohen says Trump will not run in 2024: ‘His ego can’t stand to be a two-time loser’

<span>Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP</span>
Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP
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Donald Trump’s pollster thinks he will run for the White House again in 2024, with a path to victory through five states he lost to Joe Biden in 2020: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Related: Joe Biden intends to run again in 2024, White House confirms

But Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer who is fresh out of house arrest, thinks he will not.

“His fragile ego cannot stand to be considered a two-time loser,” Cohen said on Monday.

Trump lost the five states in question by narrow margins – defeats he refuses to accept, continuing to promote the lie that Biden won thanks to electoral fraud, which led to deadly violence at the US Capitol on 6 January.

Politico obtained a memo from Trump’s pollster, Tony Fabrizio, which said a poll carried out for the former president’s fundraising committee put him up over Biden in all five states, by margins ranging from three points in Georgia to 12 in Michigan.

In recent books about the Trump administration, Fabrizio is depicted as willing to give Trump polling news he did not want.

But he told Politico: “Poll after poll clearly demonstrates that … Trump is still the 800lb gorilla in the [Republican party] and would be its 2024 nominee should he run.”

“This new data clearly shows that today the voters in these five key states would be happy to return Trump to the White House and send Biden packing.”

With Biden struggling in the polls, Trump dominates both his party and Republican fundraising, with a huge post-election haul. He also remains in extensive legal jeopardy. The Washington Post revealed details on Monday of his legal troubles, including how the Republican party is paying some of his legal bills.

Cohen, one of more than 10 Trump associates who have been convicted of crimes, has completed his sentence for his role in illegal hush-money payments to women to help Trump’s 2016 campaign and lying to Congress about a project in Russia.

“Donald will not run,” Cohen told CNN. “Why? Because first of all, he has an incredibly fragile ego. He lost by 9m votes the first time [actually a little more than 7m]. He will lose by more than 9m the second and his fragile ego cannot stand to be considered a two-time loser.”

Asked if Trump would again react to defeat by simply saying he won, Cohen pointed to Trump’s political fundraising, which has brought in more than $100m.

“This is nothing more than the world’s greatest grift,” Cohen said. “He’s bringing in money greater than when he had the Trump Organization with all of its assets. So why would you give this up?

“He will drag this thing on all the way to the end. I have an original document … whereby he decided not to run in 2011. And of course, the reasons he talked about was his real estate, it was, you know, The Apprentice and so on.

“He’s going to do the same thing. The only difference this time versus last is that he’s making money each and every day by sending out more texts. ‘Oh, Donald won. Send $25.’”

Alluding to pictures of Republicans including the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, at Trump’s Florida resort, Cohen said Trump “doesn’t need to be the president in his mind to be the man behind the power, which of course goes to his adage, right? ‘Come and kiss the ring.’

“He says that all the time. They’re all coming to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring.”