Is Trump about to announce that he's running for president again?

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

If you believe Jim Jordan, yes.

Or rather, if you believe lefty Lauren Windsor about what Jordan allegedly told her, yes.

Should we believe her?

Jordan’s spokesman claims he said no such thing to Windsor. But she’s the same operative who surreptitiously recorded Ron Johnson scoffing at conspiracy theories that Trump really won Wisconsin. Her M.O. is to pose as a MAGA fan when greeting Republican pols to get them to let down their guard as a hidden camera rolls. There’s no video of Jordan — yet. But Windsor is promising a reveal later today:

What’s weird about Jordan’s spokesman denying that he said a Trump announcement is imminent is that Jordan himself told people at an event in Iowa, “I think he’s gonna run.” He also told an Iowa radio station, “I talked to him yesterday, I’m convinced he’s going to.”

There’s also this:

“What is the likelihood President Trump runs again in 2024?” Durkin asked on None of the Above.

“I would say somewhere between 99 and 100 percent. I think he is definitely running in 2024,” [Jason] Miller said. “I had a good conversation with him last night. I’m going to go see him in another couple days here.”

“He has not said the magical words to me, but if you talk to him for a few minutes it’s pretty clear that he’s running,” Miller added.

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. So why wouldn’t we expect a Trump announcement “any day now”?

For one thing, Trump’s been teasing an upcoming rally in Iowa. Iowa would be the logical place to announce his next candidacy since it’s the first state on the primary calendar. (And one which he won easily twice.) For another, it’s not just Jordan who’s heard rumblings from TrumpWorld lately that an announcement is coming. Maggie Haberman’s heard them too:

Why now instead of after the midterms, though? Haberman thinks it’s partly Trump wanting to hedge against his legal jeopardy (“They’re only prosecuting me because I’m running again!”) and partly him feeling annoyed that the media’s largely ignored him for the past six months. He’s not newsworthy unless and until he’s the presumptive Republican nominee again. So that’s what he’ll be:

Getting in now is also opportune inasmuch as some swing voters who opted for Biden last fall are feeling buyer’s remorse in the wake of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle. Trump’s announcement will be a de facto “I wasn’t so bad in hindsight, was I?” campaign.

Biden’s not the only Trump rival whose polling has slipped lately, though. Ron DeSantis is the one Republican politician who stands a hypothetical chance of convincing MAGA fans to prefer him to Trump as the 2024 nominee but DeSantis has lost 14 net approval points during the devastating COVID wave in Florida. That’s probably low tide for him approval-wise since the wave appears to be receding, but maybe Trump regards DeSantis’s momentary misfortune as an opening to reestablish himself as the party’s top dog with a 2024 announcement.

This new poll from Emerson suggests he has nothing to worry about:

Biden trails Trump by one in a head-to-head contest in the same poll while leading DeSantis by 12, but that’s almost all down to name recognition, I think. If anything, you’d expect Biden to trail Trump by a number outside the margin of error at a moment when his job approval is tanking due to the Kabul bugout and COVID misery. The fact that he’s down only a point and that Trump can’t do better than 47 percent against him is a reminder that anti-Trump sentiment among the electorate is broad and deep, making a third Trump run a crapshoot for the party in 2024.

I’d even go so far as to say that the Biden White House will welcome a Trump presidential announcement since it’ll turn American politics from a referendum on Biden job’s performance, which ain’t been great, into a choice between him and the unpopular other guy. Gavin Newsom has benefited lately from the rise of Trumpy radio host Larry Elder in California. Biden will hope for the same effect nationally if Trump announces again.

Trump’s problem is that he’s incapable of understanding how exhausting he and his circle are to non-MAGA people and how his image might improve if he laid low for awhile and gave voters time to forget what they disliked about him. He’s too much of a narcissist to go away, even if it would be to his political advantage to do so. So it seems he’s prepared to elbow his way back into the national conversation, drawing attention away from Biden’s flailing, and inviting comments like this from righties who are still suffering from Trump fatigue:

Speaking to CNBC at the Ambrosetti forum in Italy on Friday, [Pat] Toomey, who is not seeking re-election in 2022, suggested his party consider other presidential nominees in 2024.

“I think that the future of our party is to be a party of ideas, and not to be a party about any one individual, and I think we will learn a lot from the next set of primaries,” he said.

“I think after what happened post-2020 election, I think the president’s behavior was completely unacceptable, so I don’t think he should be the nominee to lead the party in 2024.”

The GOP had nearly six years of the Trump circus, day in and day out, beginning with the launch of his candidacy in summer 2015. Now, per Jordan, it’s staring at another three years minimum after a six-month breather. The MAGAs can’t get enough of him but it’ll be too much for some voters.