By the time the leaves are falling, Donald Trump will be running for office. Maybe.
The former president suggested in a new interview that he has decided to run for the White House again in 2024 and is only considering when to launch his campaign.
“My big decision will be whether I go before or after (the midterm elections),” Trump told New York magazine in an interview published Thursday.
Asked flat out if he will run for the White House, Trump teased that he “already made that decision.”
Another new report, in the Washington Post, says Trump will jump into the race in September to rally his supporters before the midterm elections, in which Republicans hope to retake control of Congress.
One adviser put the odds at better than 2-1 that Trump announces his campaign before the midterm as the former president has been hinting for months that he is all but certain to run for the White House again.
While conservatives have shared serious concerns about Trump, in almost every case, the former president has emerged without consequences. He has been caught on video bragging about sexual assault; he instigated a violent attack on the Capitol, and he has been twice impeached.
Trump is sitting on campaign funds exceeding $101 million and remains deeply popular with many Republican voters. A dearth of GOP candidates from Arizona to Pennsylvania to Georgia have been battling one another this midterm season for his support.
Trump may believe that the sooner he starts actively campaigning, the easier it will be to head off potential ‘24 rivals within the GOP, especially Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is gaining momentum in recent polls and has recently met with big-money donors.
“I think a lot of people would not even run if I (do) because, if you look at the polls, they don’t even register,” Trump said in the New York interview.
One recent survey showed DeSantis leading Trump among Republican primary voters with a college degree in a potential matchup. Trump held a wide lead among men and those without a college degree, which comprised his MAGA base in past elections.
Other potential contenders like former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), are mired in single digits in recent surveys.
The GOP believes it has a big advantage heading into the fall campaign running on what it frames as President Biden’s mishandling of the economy. Trump’s entry may energize the Democratic base and distract attention from the pain voters are feeling at the gas pump and grocery store.
“If Trump is going to run, the sooner he gets in and talks about winning the next election, the better,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) told the Washington Post.