Former President Donald Trump appears to be full steam ahead as he heads towards a likely announcement of the 2024 presidential campaign at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla. on Tuesday night.
Despite a spate of public and private calls in recent days from several Trump allies urging the former president to delay his announcement until after the December 6 Senate runoff in Georgia — which could potentially determine the Senate majority — Trump appears to be on the mend moving forward in what he calls his “special announcement”.
Two sources close to the former president told Fox News that despite advice from those close to the former president, Trump will announce Tuesday, with one of them stressing, “I am very sure he will.”
Jason Miller, a senior official in the former president’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, said on Friday’s radio show of former senior Trump adviser Stephen Bannon that “President Trump will announce on Tuesday that he is running for president. And it’s going to be very professional, very tight-lipped.”
CALLS ARE GROWING THAT TRUMP MAY DELAY ANNOUNCEMENT FROM 2024 UNTIL AFTER THE GEORGIA DRAIN
And Trump has fought back criticism from many Republicans who argue that the former president’s support for far-right MAGA loyalists in the GOP primaries hurt the party in Tuesday’s general election, making a potential red wave more of a trickle. Trump said in an interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday that his plans to make a “big” announcement on Tuesday hadn’t changed.
WHAT TRUMP TOLD FOX NEWS ABOUT ITS POTENTIAL 2024 ANNOUNCEMENT
“We’ve had tremendous success,” Trump told Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman, adding, “Why would anything change?” in reference to his upcoming announcement.
But if the former president officially announces a 2024 campaign, it will have immediate implications for what Trump might and might not do in the future.
Campaign finance laws would take effect immediately, limiting the donations he could accept from individual donors and restricting how he could use the massive war chest his Save America political action committee has built up over the past two years.
Longtime senior Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski, noting Trump’s status as the most popular and influential politician in the GOP, the fiercest grassroots fundraiser and the overwhelming current frontrunner in the GOP’s nomination polls in early 2024, has urged Trump to issue a 2024 statement waiting .
“Once you become an official candidate there are restrictions on what you can and cannot do. Actually, being a non-candidate is an advantage for a man with 100% name ID and $100 million in the bank,” said Lewandowski, who managed Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign historian and has remained close to the former president.
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An announcement by Trump would also cut support for the Republican National Committee (RNC), which must remain neutral in the burgeoning race for the GOP presidential nomination. The RNC has spent millions paying for some of Trump’s massive legal fees.
Sources in Trump’s political circle tell Fox News that top advisers in Mar-a-Lago are urging Trump to proceed with this announcement. Among the benefits they see in an early 2024 announcement is the potential to edge out some likely contenders for the nomination.
But some leading Republicans scoff at the idea that a Trump announcement would sideline other potential competitors.
GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that a Trump announcement “doesn’t clear the field … anyone who wants to run will still run.”
Sununu, who hasn’t entirely ruled out a White House run of his own, argued: “Anyone who thinks it’s a smart idea to announce a … potential presidential candidacy after the election but before Christmas is just about the worst time ever it can.”
It’s not just Sununu.
Several Republican strategists speaking to Fox News dismissed the idea that a Trump announcement would deter such leading potential candidates as former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or Govs. Ron DeSantis from Florida, Glenn Youngkin from Virginia or Larry Hogan from Maryland.
While acknowledging that Trump is “clearly the heavyweight. He’s the bigfoot on the field,” said longtime GOP adviser David Kochel, and the former president “isn’t going to leave the field.”
But Kochel, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential campaigns, predicted that a Trump announcement would “speed up people’s deadlines to decide whether to go or not to go.” I think you’re going to have some people saying they won’t run because Trump is in it. But he will have one or more serious challengers who will attack him.”
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“I assume that by the end of the first quarter of 2023 we will probably know who is really coming in,” said Kochel.
A Trump announcement could also spark a fresh wave of attacks from the former president on his potential nomination rivals, which was a staple of Trump’s contentious 2016 GOP presidential nomination battle.
Trump repeatedly took aim last week at DeSantis, who rolled to a landslide re-election victory in Florida on Tuesday, and also snapped at Youngkin by the end of the week. But the former president’s verbal attacks seemed to fall flat, drawing conservative criticism.
FIRST ON FOX: GET READY FOR THE FIRST BIG 204 GOP PRESIDENT CATTLE CALL
In addition to the Trump announcement, the week after the Midterms will also see the first real Republican 2024 cattle calls.
First up is the Republican Governors Association’s annual winter meeting, which is being held near Orlando, Florida this year. Among the attendees who have said they are considering a White House bid or are viewed by political forecasters as potential contenders are DeSantis, Youngkin of Virginia, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Hogan, and Sununu, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska.
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At the end of the week, as Fox News first reported late last month, 11 GOP politicians who experts see as potential or likely contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination will attend the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas take part.
They are Pence, Pompeo, Haley, Sens. Ted Cruz from Texas, Rick Scott from Florida, Tim Scott from South Carolina and Bill Hagerty from Tennessee, DeSantis, Hogan, Sununu and former Gov. Chris Christie from New Jersey
Fox News’ Mark Meredith contributed to this report