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What is Donald Trump even doing?


Donald Trump. Illustrated | Getty Images

It’s been a month since Donald Trump grimly dismissed the stigma of his dual indictment to declare his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, predicting during an announcement speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that Americans would “massively” support a second Trump. presidency. Between then and now, Trump has had a turbulent few weeks, punctuated by a series of legal setbacks, reputational blows and growing political headwinds over his re-election bid. What he has not was, however, something akin to a traditional campaign rollout – or much of a campaign rollout so to speak. In fact, although he initially resisted his advisers’ recommendation to delay announcing his candidacy until later in this election cycle, Trump has largely avoided the impression that he is running for office to begin with.

What did he do ?

The travel-averse former president largely stayed at Mar-a-Lago, entertaining guests as the winter gala headliner for the American Freedom Tour – a for-profit organizer of the rallies off Trump’s campaign — and inviting notorious anti-Semites to dinner. Insofar as the former president has made appearances outside the comfort of his private domain, it’s via video conferencing, pre-recorded messages and Fox News interviews. Although he was greeted on Twitter for the first time since his account was suspended following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, Trump kept his social media musings on his Truth Social site, where he posted. recently called for — then denied calling for — the repeal of the United States Constitution. According The Washington Post, Trump’s campaign says it will start planning events in earnest in the new year. An official from the former president’s team told the newspaper that “we are still two years away. There will be a time to do events and a time to do rallies.”

Talk with The daily beastanother Trump campaign official suggested the delay to public-facing events is a deliberate move by the team as they work behind the scenes to bring staff together.

“They are methodical, looking at the numbers, planning the campaign and recruiting the right team to execute the plan,” the anonymous manager explained. “Why would an announced candidate go to a state where there is no leadership in place? The selection and release of a group of key leaders in the vital early primary states would be a significant accomplishment before Christmas. “

Are the Republicans satisfied?

While Trump’s team may be hoping to project an image of deliberate planning, some GOP members have taken the former president’s relative absence as a disconcerting misstep and even a sign of weakness by the candidate himself.

“I think at this point in his budding re-election campaign, they need to stop and regroup over the holidays,” said former senior Trump campaign adviser David Urban. Politics shortly after Herschel Walker’s electoral defeat in Georgia’s runoff election. “Since his re-election announcement, I don’t think by any measurable standard you can say everything is going well. You’ve had unforced error after unforced error.”

“The former president announced his 2024 run against the wishes of most GOP members and his closest advisers, largely out of frustration at the shift in momentum toward Ron DeSantis,” said Alyssa Farah Griffin, former Trump’s White House communications director. The daily beast. “Now he’s been in a presidential race for several weeks with no real apparatus, no message and no event. So far it’s been a race of spite and he’s been as poorly received as one would expect.”

Nonetheless, Trump campaign officials and supporters have repeatedly insisted that the delay between the announcement and the actual campaign was a deliberate choice by the former president.

“It’s a marathon and our game plan is being implemented even though the presidential primary schedule has not yet been set and the 2022 midterm cycle has just ended,” said the gatekeeper. campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung. The daily beastwhile MAGA Inc. super PAC boss Taylor Budowich echoed the same sentiment at The Washington Post:

“President Trump entered the race three weeks ago ready to win and he is going to do just that – no amount of wishful thinking from the media or the consulting class will change that,” he explained. “He is building one of the most ruthless and talented teams in American politics, and he is the only person in the country who is ready and able to reverse America’s decline.”

But if so, why announce his candidacy so early? Why not wait until things are settled before announcing to the world his intention to flee?

Why now?

As several Republican pundits and insiders have theorized, Trump’s campaign announcement may have been anticipated by two separate, albeit congruent, factors. write in The Washington Post, longtime conservative activist George Conway – husband of Trump’s permanent White House adviser Kellyanne Conway – speculated that Trump’s decision was motivated in large part by fear of the former president of criminal prosecution and his belief that running for and obtaining high office would protect him. Additionally, writes Conway, the math of Republican Party delegates means that “Trump can only be beaten for the GOP nomination in a contest that’s head-to-head from the start.” Essentially, by declaring his candidacy early, Trump hopes to scare off any potential rivals who are unwilling, as Conway put it, to risk their political futures by taking “a brutal mud bath” with Trump this time around.

Democrats seem to agree. In a statement, Democratic National Committee spokesman Ammar Moussa noted that “the list of reasons why this three-week-old campaign should vie for one of the worst pitches in history is simply too long. ” to list. Nevertheless, “Donald Trump’s grip on the MAGA party has not loosened. The refusal of Trump’s main potential competitors to condemn Trump for breaking bread with anti-Semites or wanting to end the Constitution is a reminder that the Party Republican remains firmly committed to Trumpism and its extreme positions.

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