Former President Donald Trump gave a wide-ranging interview to conservative broadcaster Hugh Hewitt this week in which he once again teased the potential of a second bid for the White House in 2024.
Asked by Mr Hewitt what his base of loyalist voters in the GOP would do if he did not run in 2024, the former president gave no nods to potential successors and instead warned that his voters would be furious if he did not mount another presidential bid.
“[Y]ou know your base better then anybody. You know, the people who come to the rallies,” Mr Hewitt said. “If Donald Trump decides not to run in 2024, who out there will that base flock to?”
“If I do decide that, I think my base is going to be very angry,” the former president responded.
“Well, it will, but they’ll still have to find somebody,” Mr Hewitt said.
After the conversation veered off course, Mr Hewitt attempted to broach the subject once again, this time by listing GOP figures widely seen as top candidates for the Republican nomination in 2024 other than Mr Trump himself, and asking which one Mr Trump thought his base would rally behind.
“You know who’s running. It’s, you know, [former Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and [Florida Gov Ron] DeSantis, [Sens] Tim Scott, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, these are the frontrunners – [Sen] Ted Cruz was on yesterday. Who will they flock to?” asked Mr Hewitt.
Once again, the former president declined to answer, while this time hinting that his decision would be made after the 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans face a favourable map and have the potential to take one or both houses of Congress from the Democrats.
“I’ll tell you about that in about one year from now,” said Mr Trump, before reiterating that he had not decided himself whether or not to run. “We’ll have another phone call, maybe before that. But I’ll discuss that subject right after the midterms. I know exactly, I mean, I have two or three [possible candidates] that I think would be very good.”
The former president has been making such statements about a 2024 bid since practically the day he left office. He has hosted numerous rallies across the country, unheard of for an ex-president in the first months of his successor’s term, and continued fundraising for his massive campaign war chest with glitzy events at his various properties.
Mr Trump has also, according to The New York Times, openly embraced conspiracy theories in conversations with his supporters at Mar-a-Lago that claim that he could reassume office at some point this year, a product of the former president’s continued false claims about supposed widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Polls indicate that Mr Trump is the widespread favourite to secure the GOP nomination in 2024 if he chooses to run again. A poll from The Hill-HarrisX published in October found that just over half of all surveyed voters, including 77 per cent of Republican respondents, approved of the idea of Mr Trump mounting a bid for the White House in the next election cycle.