(Fwrd Axis) — Former President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing his options over when he should announce a presidential run for 2024 — a decision he has teased ever since he left office.
The New York Times reported Friday that Trump had told his associates he is eager to launch another presidential campaign as early as this month in an effort to steer coverage away from the January 6 investigation into the riot at the U.S. Capitol and onto him. He also wants to use the moment to capitalize on President Joe Biden‘s low approval ratings and discourage any of his GOP rivals from running against him.
Reports say Trump’s desire to run again got more intense following testimony from Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to then-Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. She testified how Trump and his inner circle were warned about the potential for violence on January 6 but shrugged it off, allowing things to proceed.
Privately, Trump aides say the House committee’s public hearings have damaged Donald Trump’s standing among the Republican Party. Some aides have said Trump would not make an announcement without alerting the press to ensure coverage.
However, some in the party are increasingly worried about a third Trump bid for office.
Aides say Trump wants to steal the spotlight from those who threaten to take away his power as the leader of the party, most notably Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Several recent polls have shown DeSantis ahead of Trump by a few percentage points in recent straw polls when asked who Republican voters would want to run in 2024.
Some of Trump’s aides were shocked when he said he may announce he’s running for president on his Truth Social website instead of using a campaign rally.
“Every day is different. We get told he’s going to announce imminently, and by the afternoon that has changed,” one source said to CNN.
Trump’s team remains divided over if he should even make a third run for office, with some worried he may not be able to avoid a repeat of 2020. The federal campaign finance laws may also pay a factor in his decision as an early announcement means he would not be able to use any of the $100 million in his political action committee to directly support his presidential run.
“It’s up to him if he runs or not,” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said in an interview on Fox News. “But the key to him being successful is comparing his policy agenda and policy successes with what is going on today.”