As a highly-speculated 2024 presidential campaign continues to gain steam, former President Donald Trump is reportedly "constantly" telling people "I'm running," and was actually talked out of announcing his candidacy in August, The Washington Post reports.
At first emboldened by the upheaval in Afghanistan, Trump was cautioned against right away sharing his 2024 plans so as to not force "a reshuffling of his newly formed fundraising apparatus" or "complicate his ability to appear on broadcast television without triggering equal time rules," writes the Post, according to people familiar with the discussions. Advisers were also concerned Democrats could also use Trump's candidacy to their advantage during the midterms, and argued the ex-president "could be more effective electing like-minded Republicans next year if he was not an official candidate himself."
"The biggest point we drove home was that he doesn't want to own the midterms if we don't win back the House or Senate," said one individual.
Trump was convinced to hold off (at least for the time being), and is now relying on a "winks and nods" strategy in which he is acting "like a candidate for public office ... without actually declaring so himself," notes the Post. The former president has resumed cross-country rallies, and continues to raise money using the same tactics as his last campaign. And even as other Republicans test the 2024 waters, Trump has "made clear" he's watching out for potential opponents, per the Post.
"He tacitly keeps the 2024 crowd on notice that nobody can move a major muscle until he decides what he's doing," said former adviser Kellyanne Conway. "As for 2024, there has been a shift from intention to urgency as he watches in horror the many failings of this administration." Read more at The Washington Post.