It appears to be full steam ahead for former President Donald Trump as he moves towards a likely 2024 presidential campaign announcement on Tuesday night at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Despite a chorus of public and private calls in recent days by several Trump allies urging the former president to delay his announcement until after the Dec. 6 Senate runoff election in Georgia — which could potentially determine the Senate majority — Trump appears to be moving forward with what he touts as his “special announcement.”
Two sources close to the former president tells Fox News that Trump is going to announce on Tuesday regardless of advice from some people in the former president’s orbit, with one of them emphasizing “I am very certain that is what he’s going to do.”
Jason Miller, a top official on the former president’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, said Friday on former Trump senior adviser Stephen Bannon’s radio show that “President Trump is going to announce on Tuesday that he’s running for president. And it’s going to be a very professional, very buttoned-up announcement.”
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And Trump pushed back against criticism from plenty of Republicans who argue that the former president’s backing of far right MAGA loyalists in GOP primaries hurt the party in Tuesday’s general election, downsizing a potential red wave into a more of a trickle. Trump told Fox News Digital in an interview Wednesday that his plans to make a “major” announcement on Tuesday have not changed.
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“We had tremendous success,” Trump told Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman, adding, “Why would anything change?” in reference to his upcoming announcement.
But if the former president formally announces a 2024 campaign, it will have instant implications on what Trump could and could not do moving forward.
Campaign finance laws would immediately kick in, limiting donations he could accept from individual donors and restricting how he could use the massive war chest his Save America political action committee has built up over the past two years.
Pointing to Trump’s status as the most popular and influential politician in the GOP, the most ferocious fundraiser among the grassroots, and the overwhelming current leader in early 2024 GOP nomination polling, longtime leading Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski has urged Trump to wait on any 2024 declaration.
“Once you become an official candidate, there are limitations on what you can and cannot do. Being a non-candidate is actually advantageous for a guy with 100% name ID and $100 million in the bank,” said Lewandowski, who managed Trump’s historic 2016 presidential primary campaign and has remained close to the former president.
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An announcement from Trump would also cut off support from the Republican National Committee (RNC), which must stay neutral in the burgeoning GOP presidential nomination race. The RNC has spent millions paying some of Trump’s massive legal bills.
Sources in Trump’s political orbit tell Fox News that top aides at Mar-a-Lago are urging Trump to move forward with that announcement. Among the benefits they see in an early 2024 announcement would be the potential to clear the field of some likely rivals for the nomination.
But some leading Republicans scoff at the idea that a Trump announcement would drive other potential contenders from the race.
GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that a Trump announcement “does not clear the field… anyone who wants to run is still going to run.”
Sununu, who hasn’t entirely ruled out a White House bid of his own, argued that “anyone who thinks it’s a smart idea to announce a…potential presidential bid after the election but before Christmas, it’s just the worst time you could possibly do it.”
It’s not just Sununu.
Multiple Republican strategists who spoke with Fox News eschewed the idea that a Trump announcement would deter such leading potential contenders as former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, or Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, or Larry Hogan of Maryland.
While acknowledging that Trump is “clearly the heavyweight. He’s the Bigfoot in the field,” longtime GOP consultant David Kochel said the former president “is not going to clear the field.:
But Kochel, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential campaigns, predicted that a Trump announcement would “accelerate people’s timelines for deciding whether they go or not go. I think you’ll have some people who say they won’t run because Trump’s in. But he’s going to have one or more serious challengers who are going to make a run at him.”
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“I would imagine by the end of the first quarter of 2023 we’ll probably know who’s really going to get in,” Kochel said.
A Trump announcement may also trigger a new wave of attacks by the former president at his potential nomination rivals, which was a Trump staple in the combustible 2016 GOP presidential nomination battle.
Trump repeatedly took aim this past week at DeSantis, who on Tuesday rolled to a landslide re-election victory in Florida, and at the end of the week also snapped at Youngkin. But the former president’s verbal attacks appeared to have fallen flat and garnered conservative criticism.
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Besides the Trump announcement, the week after the midterms will also see the first real Republican 2024 cattle calls.
Up first is the Republican Governors Association’s annual winter meeting, which is being held this year near Orlando, Florida. Among those attending who have said they’re mulling a White House bid or who are viewed by political prognosticators as potential contenders are DeSantis, Youngkin of Virginia, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Hogan, as well as Sununu, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska.
At the end of the week, as first reported by Fox News late last month, 11 GOP politicians whom pundits view as potential or likely contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination will attend the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas.
They are Pence, Pompeo, Haley, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, DeSantis, Hogan, Sununu, and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey
Fox News’ Mark Meredith contributed to this report
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