Half a dozen knowledgeable sources—administration officials, campaign aides, and people close to President Trump—tell The Daily Beast that planning has long been underway for potential 2021 policy pursuits. But a prevailing interest driving Trump’s desire for another four years is not ideological. It’s reputational.
Two of those sources said that one of the president’s real motivations for running is to simply avoid embarrassment. He doesn’t want to be humiliated by the title of “one-term president.”
“The president has told me [on multiple occasions] that he is determined to not be a one-termer, and says that history forever remembers them as ‘losers,’” said a former senior Trump administration official. “A lot of it is about legacy for him and how he will be remembered. And if he loses, I don’t think he’ll take a defeat [at the hands of] Biden, of all possible people, lightly.”
Another individual familiar with the president’s private remarks said they recalled Trump making similar comments as far back as late 2018. Trump, the source said, specifically referenced former President Jimmy Carter as an example of a modern political “loser,” and how “you never want to be that guy,” the source said, paraphrasing Trump.