The sun is setting on Donald Trump’s futile effort to reverse his loss to Joe Biden, forcing the president to devise a new strategy for maintaining the public attention he has held ever since stepping, via escalator, onto the political stage in 2015. Even in the aftermath of the election, Trump has continued to dominate news coverage with baseless claims of widespread fraud, flailing press conferences by his lawyers, and a blitz of litigation challenging the election results without merit or proof. Judges have repeatedly tossed out the Trump campaign’s lawsuits, most recently in Philadelphia on Friday, and despite his ongoing refusal to concede, the president is supposedly already looking past his doomed post-election efforts and contemplating what’s next—including a potential 2024 bid.
Trump is reportedly considering announcing his plans to run again before year’s end, a way to preserve relevance and political power upon exiting the White House. That idea is apparently gaining steam among the president and his allies, with Trump not only talking to advisers about a hypothetical run “but about the specifics of a campaign launch,” the Daily Beast reports, such as how he could most strategically time his announcement “so as to keep the Republican Party behind him for the next four years.” In the past two weeks, the president has “even floated the idea of doing a 2024-related event during Biden’s inauguration week, possibly on Inauguration Day, if his legal effort to steal the 2020 election ultimately fails,” according to the Daily Beast. As plans for a potential campaign launch come into focus, Trump and his confidants are reportedly beginning to assess what donor support he would have, or be up against, in advance of a 2024 run.
The president’s desire to remain in the spotlight and demand for GOP loyalty appear to be driving his plans to run again, an intention he voiced during a reported Oval Office meeting with National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that occurred ten days after the election. “If you do that—and I think I speak for everybody in the room—we’re with you 100 percent,” O’Brien told Trump, while Pompeo and Pence smiled and said nothing, according to Bloomberg. All three of the president’s most senior advisers have fueled speculation about potential White House runs themselves, albeit to different extents. (Pompeo and Pence are considered more serious GOP hopefuls than O’Brien.)
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Ivanka and Jared’s Post–White House Future Is an Island Alone
— Inside Don Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Supposed RNC-Takeover Plot
— Why Mike Pompeo’s Postelection Trump Worship Carries Real Risks
— Ivanka Trump Was My Best Friend. Now She’s MAGA Royalty
— As Trump Clings to Power, His Allies Quietly Admit Defeat
— Elon Musk’s Totally Awful, Completely Bonkers, Most Excellent Year
— After Biden’s Victory, Can the Media Tune Out Trump’s 2020 Delusions?
— From the Archive: Donald Trump Was the Best Cable-News President in History
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.