By Yashwant Raj
Washington, Jul 2 (IANS): Former US President Donald Trump is understood to be preparing to make an unusually early announcement of his third consecutive run for the White House.
The New York Times has reported that Trump told some aides recently that he could announce his 2024 run on social media, without even telling his own team. Aides are rushing, therefore, to put together a basic campaign infrastructure expecting the announcement as early as this month, the report added.
Trump first ran for the White House and won in 2016, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton. He had earlier swept aside a large and wide field of Republicans in the primaries, that included Jeb Bush of the clan of Bushes. He sought re-election in 2020 but lost comprehensively to Democrat Joe Biden. The 2024 run will be his third, if he does get into it.
Trump remains extremely popular in the Republican party with his poll numbers in the 80s. But he views the White House as a way to blunt possible fallouts for him from the ongoing congressional investigation of the January 6 insurrection, in which supporters, egged on by him, had attacked the US Congress to prevent a joint session of lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden as the victor of the November 2020 presidential election.
New revelations emerging from the public hearings of the committee have been potentially dangerous for the former President. It appears the insurrection was not a spontaneous action by his supporters and that it was a well-organised affairs with several of his top aides in the midst of it. He himself is understood to have been aware that the march on the US Capitol would be anything but peaceful, as he knew many of his supporters were armed.
Also, many candidates endorsed by Trump for the Republican primaries for the upcoming midterm election in November were defeated, showing his hold on the party may be weakening.
There are then Republicans who are mulling their own run for the White House, chiefly Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, former Vice President Mike Pence and Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. DeSantis has been doing well in polls and Pence is been more visible and vocal than in a long time.
The New York Times also reported that Trump's close circle of advisers remains divided on the issues. Some of them don't want him to run because they are sure of his political potency or what would be his message. Others want him to not do such a thing. Don Trump Jr, the former President's eldest son, has told others that he would like his father to first put together an expansive campaign team.
Trump has yet to concede defeat in the 2020 election and continues to push his false claims of a stolen election and raised millions of dollars from his supporters to fight it. His claims have been thoroughly debunked by multiple election audits and courts. But he has not given up yet.
Some experts believe this inability to accept his defeat as a reason why he may not run at all despite his public posturing. A second loss would be fatal for his political clout. He could instead continue to wield considerable power in the party if he did not run and switch to the role of kingmaker.