Question won’t work if Trump runs leads to waiting game for likely 2024 candidates
As each presumed candidate for 2024 navigates the uncertainty of another Trump candidacy – deciding whether to publicly acknowledge his presidential ambitions or keep their heads down until he makes a decision – their potential opponents lend particular attention to the degree of loyalty they show to former president.
Some likely candidates for 2024 are creating pending campaigns – hire trusted advisers, meet with donors, and visit very important primary states knowing that all of this could be in vain if the former president gets into the race. On Wednesday, for example, former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to travel to New Hampshire to mingle with GOP donors in a fundraiser for Republicans across the state and criticize the Biden administration in a speech organized by the conservative activism group Heritage Action. Notably, Pence did not say he would refrain from challenging his former boss in the next presidential primary.
Other Republican hopefuls who made such statements have drawn criticism within the party.
“If you say you are handing yourself over to someone, that is both a sign of weakness and indecision,” he said in May.
Meanwhile, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and a handful of Republican senators have hinted at it, saying they either support the prospect of another Trump campaign or believe the GOP presidential nomination is his. if he showed up.
“If Donald Trump runs for president in 2024, he will be the Republican candidate. Of course, I would support him,” Senator Marco Rubio told WPTV last week. Florida Senator Rick Scott said in an interview with Fox Business on Friday that Trump “should start over.”
Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina, two other Senators who have been talked about as possible 2024 GOP candidates, have also expressed support for a future Trump candidacy.
And even as she traveled to Iowa in July – signaling her own interest in forming relationships that could benefit her in 2024 – Noem told Tory activists at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines that she “counts. on [Trump] functioning.”
An aide to a potential Republican candidate who has not publicly declared that he will defer to the former president told CNN that “unless there is a drastic change in the base, the nomination is that of Donald Trump and it would be a suicide mission to run against him. ” And yet, the aide continued, “We’re never going to admit it. It discourages voters that we might need later.”
Candidates who have shown deference to Trump – giving in to him even before the GOP primary has started – are now being criticized by his allies.
“You are either your own person or not and when you do reflective politics it is a little difficult then to go to the grassroots and say that you are a fighter,” said the former campaign assistant of Trump, Bryan Lanza, who remains close to the ex-president.
“This is a time we’re going to have to fight and get rid of and the last thing we need if former President Trump doesn’t show up is someone to bow out before the fight even starts. begins, ”Lanza added.
Keep their cards close at hand
In an entirely different category are would-be Republican candidates who have voluntarily refrained from discussing 2024 or failed to show submission to Trump when they did.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, for example, told CBS News’s Face the Nation last month that Trump “would be very, very formidable,” as a candidate in 2024, but simultaneously bragged about having “passed. incredibly close “to beating the former president. in the 2016 GOP presidential primary and may be able to become the Republican Party candidate in 2024.
“I came in second. There is a long history of finalists being the next nominee,” said Cruz.
But DeSantis isn’t the only rumored Republican hopeful to dodge the 2024 gossip. Two other Republicans who have been mentioned as possible candidates – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton – have also refused. to speculate on their presidential ambitions or to take a stand on competition in a primary that includes Trump.
“We’ll see what happens. One thing you know about me, I’m taking it one step at a time,” Abbott told a local NBC affiliate last month when asked if he was considering a candidacy for the presidential election. An Abbott adviser told CNN that the governor of Texas, who is running for re-election in 2022, would have some serious catching up to do if he made a White House offer since Abbott had not prepared. the field nor traveled to the early primary states like other GOP presidential contenders. The same adviser also acknowledged the near impossibility of a pro-Trump Republican proving more competitive in a GOP primary against Trump than the former president himself.
“Of the 30 or so people who think about it or dream about it, it’s an honest assessment to say that if you like Trump’s policies, it will be very difficult to break into with voters if he’s also competing. in the race, ”Abbott’s advisor said.
Cotton, meanwhile, has repeatedly pushed aside questions about his ambitions for 2024, despite his multiple trips to Iowa and New Hampshire this year. So far, he has also declined to comment on Trump’s constant teasing about another presidential bid – refusing to go as far as other GOP senators who said the nomination was his s ‘he wished or suggesting that they would forgo their own campaigns if he intervenes. Cotton spokeswoman Caroline Tabler declined to comment for this story.
Trump is not a factor for everyone
Only six of the dozen Republicans who drew speculation from 2024 have made it clear that Trump will not be a factor in their decision as they weigh their own presidential candidacies. While two of the names in that group – Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan – would likely enter the race as the Never Trump candidates, meaning their decision to run against the former president would be easier than that of Republicans who wish to stay in his good graces, the other four face a more difficult decision. Yet none of them said Trump’s next move would determine how they approach the 2024 presidential primary.
Cheney said she was ready to do “whatever it takes” to prevent Trump from going to the Oval Office again, presumably indicating that she would take him in a Republican primary, while Hogan told Politico in September that a Trump candidacy “certainly wouldn’t stop me” if he decides to run for president.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the stance taken by two longtime Trump followers. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who continues to compliment Trump in public speeches despite their disagreement over his verification of the 2020 election results, notably declined to say he would not challenge his former boss in 2024. Wizards de Pence are also quick to note that Trump will not be a factor in his decision.
“If you know the Pence, you know that they will always try to discern where they are called to serve. And I don’t think it depends on who else is in the race or not,” he said. . Chief of Staff Marc Short told The Atlantic last week.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who took the temperature of GOP donors on a 2024 offer and made the trip to Iowa and New Hampshire, also refused to weigh in on the race against Trump in a primary . In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity earlier this year, Pompeo said he was “always up for a good fight” when asked if he would show up if Trump didn’t. He did not say whether that competitiveness would remain in a primary that includes Trump.