Trump tells allies he will run in 2024, but hints he may back out

Trump tells allies he will run in 2024, but hints he may back out

Politico reports:

Donald Trump doesn’t need to run for president again. He just needs everyone to think he is.

The president’s recent discussions with those around him reveal that he sees his White House comeback deliberations as a way to earn the commodity he needs most after leaving office: attention.

The president has spent days calling a dozen or more allies to ask what they think he needs to do over the next two years to “stay part of the conversation,” according to two people, including one who spoke to the president. And while Trump has told allies he plans to run for president again, he has also indicated he could back out in two years if he determines he’ll have a tough time winning, said three people familiar with the discussions.

Essentially, at this point, Trump appears just as interested in people talking about a Trump 2024 campaign as he is in actually launching a real campaign, even if he may ultimately turn his flirtation into a serious bid, according to interviews with 11 Republicans who worked for Trump or helped in his two races.

Formally running for president would mean a lot of things aides say Trump doesn’t want to deal with: financial disclosure forms, building campaign infrastructure, the possibility of losing again. But simply teasing a presidential run — without actually filing the paperwork or erecting a campaign — gets Trump the attention he needs for the next two years.

Attention will help sustain his business, parts of which lost millions of dollars while he was in office. Attention will help pay off his debts, which will need to be paid off in the coming years. Attention will help discredit his investigators, who are examining whether Trump illegally inflated his assets.

It’s a strategy Trump has used before. Prior to his 2016 run, Trump expressed interest in at least four different presidential bids spanning all the way to the late 1980s, only to ultimately back out.

“Trump has probably no idea if he will actually run, but because he only cares about himself and his association with the party has only been about his ambitions rather than what it stands for, he will try to freeze the field and keep as many people on the sidelines,” said a former White House aide. “Just for the sake of keeping his options open and, yes, keeping the attention all for himself.” [Continue reading…]

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