A former campaign adviser who remains in touch with key players around Trump said his advisers are working under the assumption he will run again, and said he could announce by the end of the year or shortly before Inauguration Day. “He’ll probably announce the night before inauguration, so that that becomes a conversation all throughout Joe Biden’s inauguration,” the former adviser said. But others said they hadn’t heard anything that concrete.

“Strategically, that’s pretty smart on his part. Everyone now is frozen. Nikki who? Larry Hogan who?” the former adviser said, referring to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, both thought to harbor presidential ambitions. “That’s what immediately happens to the Republican primary the minute Trump announces whether he’s going to run again.”

The former aide said a Trump announcement will also curb plans for Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and others they described as “career politicians” who are thought to be angling for the Republican presidential nomination.