Last week we looked at the results of a poll showing that a significant majority of American voters believe that Donald Trump will run for president again in four years. While I have my own doubts about that for a variety of reasons, the only person who can know for sure is the President himself. As of last night, we may have gotten our answer… or maybe not. Politico is reporting that they’ve spoken to a large number of (unnamed) allies of the President who claim he has been reaching out to them for advice on how to proceed. But in the end, they can’t say much more than Trump might run… or he might not. That’s super helpful, guys.
Donald Trump doesn’t need to run for president again. He just needs everyone to think he is.
The president’s recent discussions with those around him reveal that he sees his White House comeback deliberations as a way to earn the commodity he needs most after leaving office: attention.
The president has spent days calling a dozen or more allies to ask what they think he needs to do over the next two years to “stay part of the conversation,” according to two people, including one who spoke to the president. And while Trump has told allies he plans to run for president again, he has also indicated he could back out in two years if he determines he’ll have a tough time winning, said three people familiar with the discussions.
This piece, under Ana Kumar’s byline, is pretty insulting to the President from beginning to end. She bases her entire premise on the belief that the only reason Donald Trump would run again is that he craves the attention. In fact, I went back and counted the number of times the author invoked the word “attention” either editorially, or by quoting unnamed sources who agreed with her. It shows up a full one dozen times in the course of a single column.
Not for nothing, but Donald Trump has not historically been a person who has been short of attention from the public and that pattern dates back far earlier than his initial announcement of his candidacy for the 2016 race. His book deals, television shows, and endless interviews always generated attention from the public, along with providing plenty of fodder for his opponents. He has the resources to go right back to those habits after leaving the White House if he so chooses. Does Donald Trump enjoy being in the limelight? I’m sure he does or he wouldn’t have taken the career path that he did. But if what he’s looking for is attention, he could easily get it without running again.
Politico claims that one of Trump’s possible plans for the future is a lengthy trip to the Middle East. Doing that could allow him to keep his hand in the game in a region where he’s generally been quite well received and draw some of the focus away from whatever Joe Biden is planning to do over there. I suppose anything is possible. Given Donald Trump’s approval rating among Republicans, it would be foolish to simply write him off as a potential 2024 GOP primary contender.
But would he really want to go through all of this again? I can’t escape that feeling that President Trump feels somewhat let down by the voters at this point for not solidly delivering him another victory in November. If it can happen once, it can happen twice. Why expend all of that energy if there’s a serious risk of coming up short a second time? While I certainly wouldn’t put it past him, I still think it’s far from a given that the President will come back and immediately launch into another four years of endless campaigning. The man clearly has the juice of an Energizer Bunny, but everyone needs a break now and again.