Trump 3.0 begins
Good morning! It’s Tuesday, November 15, 2022. The 2024 elections are 721 days away.
Trump to announce 2024 run as GOP leaders turn against him
Almost since the moment he begrudgingly left the White House in January 2021 — just weeks after his false claims about winning the 2020 election led to a deadly riot at the Capitol — former President Donald Trump has been planning his 2024 presidential run.
He toyed with announcing it last summer, then this summer, then last week, on the day before the midterm elections. His advisers persuaded him to hold off each time; instead, he has satisfied himself by merely dropping hints about a comeback bid in nearly every speech he’s given, such as his recent declaration that he would “very, very, very probably” run again.
But Trump has never been known for his patience. Unable to wait any longer, the ex-president is planning to pull the trigger on a 2024 run tonight, at a “special announcement” at 9 p.m. Eastern Time at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
The timing of the launch, like so much else about Trump, is out of the ordinary. For one thing, the 2024 election is still two years away; presidential announcements are rarely made this far in advance. (Similarly early announcers in modern history include Phil Crane in the 1972 cycle, Pete du Pont in the 1988 cycle, and John Delaney in the 2020 cycle. Needless to say, none of their campaigns went very far.)
Trump’s campaign kickoff also comes at a time when he is hemorrhaging support among Republican officeholders, many of whom still blame him for the party’s underwhelming midterm performance just one week ago. Sensing that his once-unshakable GOP backing is beginning to diminish, the ex-president is seeking to box out potential competitors by solidifying support early.
There is also the matter of the many legal quagmires he is facing, which he may hope fade away now that he will be an announced candidate for president. Trump is currently ensnared in at least three investigations relating to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election (by the Justice Department, the House January 6th committee, and a Georgia grand jury) and two more in New York relating to his family business.
He is also being investigated by a second team of Justice Department prosecutors for keeping hundreds of presidential records, many of them classified, after leaving office; this probe led to an unprecedented raid of Mar-a-Lago in August. (The DOJ is reportedly mulling appointing a special counsel to oversee its two Trump probes after he announces.)
There are no signs that any of these investigations will stop as he prematurely throws his hat in the 2024 ring; in fact, there has been a flurry of development in the probes recently. Just on Monday:
- The leaders of the House January 6th panel threatened legal action to force him to comply with a subpoena.
- The DOJ accused him of engaging in a “shell game” to shield official documents from prosecutors.
- Lawmakers sought to investigate reports that he attempted to have political enemies audited by the IRS.
- A House committee released documents on the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by foreign governments at the Trump Hotel during his presidency.
- And a criminal tax fraud trial into the Trump Organization continued.
Today, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is slated to testify before the Atlanta grand jury investigating Trump and his allies, while the New York Times is reporting that the Trump family has struck its first international marketing deal since the former president left office, with a Saudi-based company.
When Trump first previewed his “special announcement” last week, he likely envisioned entering the 2024 field in a very different political environment. He spent most of 2022 seeding the midterm contests with allies who could prove the strength of the MAGA movement; instead, nearly all of his endorsed candidates in battleground states were defeated.
Trump received an extra gut punch on Monday when the Associated Press declared that Democrat Katie Hobbs had bested Republican Kari Lake — a former TV anchor who clung to Trump as tightly as any candidate and was widely seen as a possible 2024 running mate — in the Arizona gubernatorial race.
With Lake’s defeat, Trumpism was rejected in nearly every competitive contest on the ballot, from his failed secretary-of-state candidates to losses by his chosen candidates for the Senate and the House.
These losses are why there is little appetite among Republican politicians for a third Trump run. Many GOP leaders are looking past Trump to his protégé-turned-rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was re-elected by nearly 20 points last week.
“I think the question is who is the current leader of the Republican Party. Oh, I know who it is: Ron DeSantis,” Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis told Politico on Monday, as GOP megadonors and Murdoch media properties rallied around DeSantis as well. Club for Growth, a conservative group once allied with Trump, released Iowa and New Hampshire polls showing Trump trailing DeSantis.
As the Washington Post notes, though, there are few things more perilous in politics than being viewed as inevitable — giving DeSantis the tall order of avoiding the pitfalls that plagued Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, and other formerly sure things.
In return, Trump has spent the week since the election attacking popular Republican leaders, like DeSantis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, often using bizarre and racist messages, such as his suggestion that Youngkin’s name “sounds Chinese.”
Clashing once again with GOP leaders could aid Trump as he seeks to recreate the outsider energy of his 2016 bid, as opposed to his unsuccessful 2020 run from inside the White House. Trump reportedly plans to lead a smaller campaign operation this time around, reminiscent of his shoestring 2016 effort.
However, if recent speeches are any guide, Trump is unlikely to be able to escape his impulse to rehash 2020 by incessantly bringing up his false claims about election fraud. Election denialism was proven to be a losing campaign issue last week, which is perhaps why few of Trump’s endorsees (with Lake as an exception) followed his lead by claiming fraud in their own races, showing how small the appetite is in the GOP for going down that road once again.
After all, much has changed since Trump came down the escalator to announce his first presidential run: he’s had four years in office, two impeachments, countless cycles of Republicans embracing and breaking with him. Running for the White House as a former president comes with certain advantages — experience, name ID, party support — but also, in Trump’s case especially, with considerable baggage and a bevy of questions about how their presidential term ended in the first place.
Although several former presidents have sought to return to the Oval Office, perhaps this is why only one has ever been successful: Grover Cleveland, more than 120 years ago. Trump tonight will begin a 24-month slog towards becoming the second.
🚨 What else you should know
➞ Republicans are on the verge of retaking the House. Per the Associated Press, the GOP has now won 217 seats, putting the party just one away from claiming a majority (with 14 races yet to be called). Republicans edged towards the magic number after the AP declared races in Arizona, New York, and Oregon in their favor on Monday.
➞ The House GOP will hold its leadership elections today. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is poised to receive a challenge for the speakership from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
McCarthy will easily win the majority of the House GOP he needs today to be nominated as the party’s candidate for speaker — but his real test will come in January, when he must receive a majority of the full House in a public floor vote. With his House majority expected to be small, even a few defections today could spell doom for McCarthy come January.
Freedom Caucus members are using that leverage over McCarthy to push for rule changes that would give them more sway over the chamber, including by allowing for a procedural process that could oust the speaker at any time.
➞ McCarthy received a boost on Monday when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) signaled that she would break with her right-wing allies and vote for the GOP leader. Trump has also endorsed McCarthy’s bid.
However, there are some signs that the Californian is nervous: per the Wall Street Journal, McCarthy allies have repeatedly contacted moderate Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), hoping he will switch parties and pad their majority. Cuellar declined.
➞ Other leadership fights: McCarthy’s No. 2, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), has no challengers in his bid to become majority leader in the new Congress. Three Republicans are competing for the No. 3 slot, majority whip: Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN), Tom Emmer (R-MN), and Drew Ferguson (R-GA).
The whip race has sparked its fair share of intrigue, as Fox News personality Tucker Carlson has inveighed against Emmer for alleged leaks against his son, a staffer to Banks.
➞ More headlines to know:
- “Appeals court blocks Biden student debt cancellation plan” The Hill
- “Supreme Court clears way for Jan. 6 panel to access Arizona GOP leader’s phone records” Axios
- “Feds end Ukraine-related foreign lobbying investigation into Rudy Giuliani without filing charges” CNN
- “Investigators see ego, not money, as Trump’s motive on classified papers” WaPo
- “Election Day saw few major problems, despite new voting laws” AP
🗓 What your leaders are doing today
All times Eastern.
President Biden is in Bali, Indonesia for the G20 Summit, a meeting of the world’s largest economies. It’s night there now, but earlier this morning, he attended two working sessions, a luncheon, and a gala dinner tied to the summit.
Biden also met with Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni — a right-wing leader who took office last month — and co-hosted an event on infrastructure with Indonesian president Joko Widodo and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
Vice President Harris is in Washington, but has nothing on her public schedule.
First Lady Biden will host the first-ever White House reception for Native American Heritage Month tonight.
The Senate has two votes scheduled today: on confirmation of María del Rocio Antongiorgi-Jordán to be a U.S. district judge in Puerto Rico and on passage of S.J.Res.63, a resolution by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) which would terminate the presidential declaration of a national emergency for Covid-19.
Former President Trump first declared a national emergency for Covid in March 2020; President Biden has twice renewed it, most recently in February of this year. The resolution passed the Senate earlier this year due to Democratic absences but did not advance in the House. National emergency declarations can give presidents special authorities and access to funding during a crisis.
The House is scheduled to vote on 11 pieces of legislation, all of them related to veterans affairs.
The Supreme Court has nothing scheduled today.
👋 Before I go...
Here’s something interesting: The world’s population officially reached 8 billion on Tuesday, according to the UN.
“While it took hundreds of thousands of years for the world's population to reach 1 billion, the world grew from 7 billion to 8 billion just since 2010,” CBS News notes.
During past population milestones, the UN has selected babies to represent the five-, six-, and seven-billionth children. Here’s an interesting BBC story on those children.
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