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…

Formally running for president would mean a lot of things aides say Trump doesn’t want to deal with: financial disclosure forms, building campaign infrastructure, the possibility of losing again. But simply teasing a presidential run — without actually filing the paperwork or erecting a campaign — gets Trump the attention he needs for the next two years.

Attention will help sustain his business, parts of which lost millions of dollars while he was in office. Attention will help pay off his debts, which will need to be paid off in the coming years. Attention will help discredit his investigators, who are examining whether Trump illegally inflated his assets.