Diminished Trump leaves a vacuum for 2024 hopefuls

While some are gradually separating themselves from the president, others are publicizing plans to bolster the party as it heads into the post-Trump era. Some are even sparring with other potential 2024 rivals in plain sight, marking a strikingly early start to public presidential maneuvering.

In the last week, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said that Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s objection to certifying the Electoral College was “dumbass.” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton went after Hawley and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for fundraising at the same moment the insurrection was happening. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upbraided former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley for criticizing the president.

The jockeying illustrates how potential future candidates are beginning to look past Trump, who’s been banned by Twitter, has seen his approval numbers drop and faces the prospect of a Senate conviction process that would legally bar him from running again. After operating in a Trump-owned-and-operated GOP for the past four years, Republicans are calculating that the outgoing president is leaving a vacuum — and that there’s room to fill it without waiting to see if Trump mounts a 2024 comeback.

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