© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Robstown, Texas, U.S., October 22, 2022. REUTERS/Go Nakamura/File Photo
By Steve Holland and Jarrett Renshaw
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump is considering launching a third bid for the White House this month and is speed-dialing confidantes to hash out possible scenarios as he looks to benefit from expected Republican wins in Tuesday’s midterms, three Trump advisers said.
“I think like a moth to a flame, Trump will run in 2024,” one senior adviser told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I think that he wants to run and announcing before Thanksgiving gives him a great advantage over his opponents and he understands that.”
An announcement in the coming weeks could also box out potential rivals for the party’s nomination, the advisers said, though they added it was possible the former president could still delay a decision or change his mind.
A representative for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
One source familiar with Trump’s plans said he intends to announce his re-election campaign shortly after Tuesday’s elections and has been sounding out potential staff about joining the effort. The source was approached by the campaign to gauge interest.
Nonpartisan election forecasters and polls say it is highly likely Republicans will win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and also have a shot of taking control of the Senate, which would give them the power to block President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda for the next two years.
Democrats’ electoral hopes have been hammered by voter concerns about high inflation, and Biden’s public approval rating has remained below 50% for more than a year, coming in at 40% in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.
But after a divisive four-year term that ended in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by his followers then two years during which he has continued to claim falsely that his defeat was the result of fraud, Trump also remains unpopular, with the same poll late last month showing that just 41% of Americans view him favorably.
The Thanksgiving holiday is on Nov. 24, providing Trump a two-week window after the elections to make his announcement should he wish to do so.
Trump has kept up a steady pace of political rallies since leaving office, where he publicly flirts with another run. He is expected to host family and friends at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday night to celebrate expected victories among candidates he backed in the midterms.
Trump currently faces a raft of investigations, including a Justice Department probe into classified documents he took from the White House after leaving office, some of which prosecutors say have not yet been recovered.
In a direct challenge to Trump, several major Republican figures are considering whether to seek the party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
Trump is keeping a close eye on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to win his re-election race on Tuesday against Democrat Charlie Crist. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, are also seen as potential rivals, among others.
Announcing his re-election campaign soon could help propel Trump in the early voting states of Iowa — where Trump is due to appear at a rally on Thursday night — and South Carolina while his rivals are still working on their own 2024 plans, the senior adviser said.
A Trump run could mean a rematch of the 2020 Biden-Trump election.
Those close to Trump were not unanimous in expecting he would reveal his intentions soon.
“He’s going to want the speculation to go for months,” said one source. “He’s going to enjoy the three months of stories about when he’s going to do it.”