Even out of office, Donald Trump remains the center of attention in the political world in many ways. Liberals and most of the media (but I repeat myself) can’t seem to stop talking about the Bad Orange Man out habit after four years, plus the fact that it delivers a lot of clicks. The Republican Party remains divided, but Trump’s influence is undeniable and his presence is felt behind nearly every debate and decision that’s made… just ask Liz Cheney if you don’t believe me. But the one big question that everyone keeps asking is if Donald Trump will take another run at a second term in 2024. One person weighing in on the question this week is one of Trump’s biggest supporters since 2015 and a leader in the Evangelical community, the Reverend Franklin Graham. This week he told Axios that Donald Trump should probably put politics behind him. Why? Because he’ll be too old to run in 2024.
The Rev. Franklin Graham says a potential 2024 presidential bid by Donald Trump would “be a very tough thing to do,” the prominent Christian leader told “Axios on HBO.”
Why it matters: Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, was among Trump’s earliest and most prominent evangelical defenders.
Graham told “Axios on HBO” that a Trump comeback would be difficult because of his advancing age and eating habits.
“I think for him, everything will depend on his health at that time. If he still has energy and strength like he does. I don’t.”
So Graham is citing the former president’s advancing age and poor eating habits. But he didn’t stop there. He mentioned that Trump has lost 15 pounds recently. Is that a sign of a medical problem or just that the guy is back to playing more golf and he’s losing weight? It’s a tough call.
Axios also asked Graham to comment on his continued support of Trump as a man of faith “when he’s lived such a sordid life.” Graham’s answer might be a bit telling here. He said, “I never said he was the best example of the Christian faith. He defends the faith. And I appreciate that very much.”
I’m having a hard time getting a read on whether Graham is throwing Trump under the bus there or not. Suggesting that he might want to consider retirement to preserve his health could be an honest expression of concern that was just phrased rather awkwardly in terms of political optics. Or maybe one term under Trump was enough for Graham and he’s trying to find a polite way to steer the party away from backing another Trump term.
Democrats will have a hard time latching onto Graham’s comments if they want to frame an attack on Trump. Who is going to have the nerve to say that 78 (the age Trump will be in 2024) is too old when that’s how old Biden was in 2020? In terms of mental acuity and resisting the forces of time, Donald Trump remains the Energizer Bunny compared to Slow Joe Biden, and his responses to interview questions, whether you like them or not, are still sharp as a tack. Joe Biden’s grasp on the narrative, by comparison, seems to be… well, perhaps out of politeness we should leave that discussion for another day.
Trump has repeatedly said that he’s thinking about another run in 2024 “more than seriously,” though he still hasn’t officially declared his candidacy. But he still has plenty of time. Some other potential contenders seem to be holding their fire and waiting to see what he’ll do. That includes Nikki Haley, viewed by many as a strong contender for the 2024 GOP primary. When asked about her plans, she said she wouldn’t be running if Trump is, maintaining the loyalty she showed to him all through his first term. If anything, that should tell you more about the durability of Trump’s star power in the GOP than anything else.