Sources close to former President Donald Trump say he could announce a 2024 presidential bid as early as this month. Here's everything you need to know:
Is Trump definitely running in 2024?
He hasn't officially announced it yet, but he's come close several times. Last month, Trump worked the crowd at a Faith and Freedom coalition event, receiving a chorus of cheers when he asked, "Would anybody like me to run for president?" Prior to that, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Trump said, "[Democrats are] going to find out the hard way, starting on Nov. 8, and then again even more so on [sic] November 2024, they will find out like never before. We did it twice, and we'll do it again. We're going to be doing it again, a third time."
As early as September 2021, a senior Trump 2020 campaign adviser put the odds of Trump running a third time at "somewhere between 99 and 100 percent" based on his recent conversations with the former president.
If Trump runs in 2024, he would be the seventh president in U.S. history to attempt a comeback after leaving office. Former Presidents Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover all campaigned to return to the White House. Only Cleveland succeeded. Of the other five, only Roosevelt came anywhere close, finishing in a distant second with 88 electoral votes to Woodrow Wilson's 435.
Even if Trump does run, there's a chance he might not make it to the general election. Potential primary challengers include former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.). Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who beat Trump in a recent New Hampshire primary poll, is also seen as a major threat.
When might Trump announce his 2024 bid?
Trump could declare his 2024 presidential campaign this summer — maybe even this month.
In late June, InfoWars host Alex Jones claimed to have learned, exclusively, that Trump planned to make the announcement on July 4. Obviously, that didn't happen, but there's still plenty of reason to expect an early launch.
The Telegraph reported last week that Trump's aides were "rushing to build up basic campaign infrastructure in time for an announcement as early as this month." The New York Times said the former president "recently surprised some advisers by saying he might declare his candidacy on social media without warning even his own team."
When do candidates usually announce?
Non-incumbent presidential candidates typically wait until after the midterm elections. The first candidate to announce a bid in 2016 was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who launched his campaign on March 23, 2015 — 139 days after the midterms.
Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) announced he was running for president in the 2020 election on July 28, 2017, just six months into Trump's presidency and 466 days before the 2018 midterms. According to FiveThirtyEight, this was the earliest declaration by a major candidate in at least 45 years. Delaney's announcement failed to raise his national profile significantly, and his presidential bid went nowhere.
What effect might an early announcement have?
One benefit of an early announcement could be to take the wind out of the sails of potential challengers, who benefit from speculation that Trump might not run. Trump reportedly plans to launch his campaign from Florida in order to overshadow DeSantis.
Trump is also angry about the Jan. 6 committee hearings. According to CBS News, "people close to Trump said he feels he is not being defended well by Republicans." Declaring a presidential bid would focus media attention on the former president, giving him a bigger megaphone with which to defend himself. It might also make the Justice Department more hesitant to pursue criminal charges against him and "strengthen his argument that other criminal investigations against him in New York and Georgia are politically motivated," The Guardian suggests.
And finally, it would turn the 2022 midterms into a referendum on Trump, forcing candidates across the country to grapple forthrightly with his stolen election claims. As presumptive nominee, he'd also wield a much bigger stick to flog any GOP office-seekers who stepped out of line.
This is exactly what many in the party are afraid of. "Republicans would rather have the conversation be about the economy, inflation, and a referendum on Biden," political consultant Carly Cooperman told The Guardian. The GOP can coast to victory in November on those issues. President Biden's approval rating has hit a new low of 36 percent, and inflation is the highest it's been in 40 years. But if primary voters start thinking about Trump, the calculus could change.
The Telegraph notes that an early announcement could also come with financial drawbacks. Once he declares his candidacy, "Trump's campaign will be subject to fundraising limits" and "prohibited from coordinating with his political action committee."