Trump's 2024 begins
President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.
Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals.
On Tuesday night, Trump was explicit about his 2024 vow, telling guests at a White House holiday party, as tweeted by CNN's Kaitlan Collins:
- "It’s been an amazing four years. We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I'll see you in four years."
The plan: Trump has made plain he'll fight to keep his ally Ronna McDaniel as head of the RNC, giving him tight control over party HQ.
- The president has raised $170 million for his "Election Defense Fund" and political operation — of which, the N.Y. Times points out, $125 million+ goes to a PAC that Trump set up in mid-November, Save America, and can be used for future travel and other political activity.
The intrigue: Trump’s 2024 rivals privately tell Axios they assume Trump's power will fade post-White House, giving them hope they can still run.
Reality check: Several allies who talk regularly to Trump told Axios they believe he'll announce for 2024, but ultimately not make the run because of what one Republican close to Trump called "hurdles he has never before experienced."
- "I think he will have more trouble than he can begin to imagine," the Republican said. "No one is going to let him have a free pass in the primary."
- "The only question left open is whether the media will give up their addiction to him or not — that will determine a great deal."
When Axios asked if that was a reference more to political trouble, financial trouble or legal trouble, the person replied: "Yes."
- But announcing would complicate moves by 2024 rivals and would feed Trump his drug — coverage.
The bottom line: Money + machinery = power.