Trump shows discreet attitude after announcing his candidacy

NEW YORK (HPD) — Coming out of the White House after being defeated last year, Donald Trump has flirted with the prospect of running for a third run for president. But in the week since he officially declared his candidacy, the former president has maintained a discreet attitude, something unusual for him.

There hasn’t been a massive stadium kick-off to his campaign, remarkable for someone who has made such events a feature of his public life. His newly reinstated Twitter account, which helped fuel his political rise nearly a decade ago, remains silent in the face of his more than 87 million followers.

He has not announced plans to visit the crucial early voting states that will shape the race for the Republican nomination, nor has he offered a series of high-profile interviews. In fact, since he gave the speech in which he made his announcement, Trump has not held any public events.

“The fact that he doesn’t have a schedule makes you wonder if he’s really running or if this is just a business development opportunity or something to distract from the Justice Department,” said veteran Republican strategist Scott Reed, referring to that department’s investigations into the way Trump handled secret documents and his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, which are expected to intensify in the coming weeks.

Trump had never held public office before being elected president in 2016, nor has he ever appreciated the cadence and organization traditional campaigns often have. And several aides noted that the former president, who made his announcement unusually early and a week before the Thanksgiving holiday, does not want to detract from the runoff election for Georgia’s Senate seat, the which will take place on December 6, with which this year’s midterm elections will conclude. The aides, who insisted on anonymity so they could discuss campaign strategies, said Trump will speed up his campaigning soon.

But the campaign’s low-key start reflects the hasty and chaotic nature of his announcement, made while midterm votes were still being counted and even after some of his closest advisers and allies had urged him to He would hold off his announcement until after the Georgia runoff was over. It also comes at a time of particular political vulnerability for Trump.

The former president has spent his post-White House years positioning himself as the undisputed leader of the Republican Party, but now faces heated criticism within the party for contributing to a disappointing performance in this month’s midterm elections. And other Republicans are openly flirting with their own presidential bids, making it clear that they will not stand aside for Trump to be nominated.

Meanwhile, the legal pressure on the former president is intensifying. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special prosecutor last week to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation of classified documents recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, as well as key aspects of a separate investigation. involving the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the federal Capitol and attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. And on Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave its go-ahead to the imminent delivery of Trump’s tax returns to a legislative committee after a three-year legal dispute.

In any case, Trump enters the race with an obvious advantage. The ex-president had been acting as a de facto candidate for months, and had been running a political operation for some time. After two campaigns for the presidency and four years in office, he also has longstanding relationships with state and local party leaders, including many who remain loyal to him.

Meanwhile, Trump has been performing at a series of private events. Last week he hosted the America First Policy Institute’s “Gala and Experience” event in Mar-a-Lago, which included policy sessions, a Thursday night concert with country star Lee Greenwood, a golf tournament and a black-tie gala Friday night, at which Trump made remarks criticizing Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel.

Trump also appeared via video at a Conservative Political Action Congress in Mexico and answered questions live via video at the annual Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting in Las Vegas, where a long list of other potential contenders for the nomination by 2024, who showed up in person, courted the donors. Some argued that it is time to leave the Trump era behind.

“As you know, our country is in very, very serious trouble…it’s in big trouble, I can assure you,” Trump declared.

The former president has also endorsed many politicians, including allies of his in Congress such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Ronny Jackson and Elise Stefanik, as well as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. from Arizona who was not elected.

And his campaign team, which has yet to fill a long list of top job vacancies, has been working to recruit staff and develop the essentials of a modern campaign organization, including integrating databases and donor lists, and negotiate with suppliers.

The outburst is now in stark contrast to June 2015, when Trump launched his winning campaign for the White House at Trump Tower with a speech that garnered widespread media attention, making shocking claims and derisive proclamations.

“When Mexico sends its people, it doesn’t send the best,” Trump declared at the time. “They bring drugs, they bring crime, they are rapists and some, I guess, are good people.”

The next day, Trump headed to Manchester, New Hampshire — he eventually won that state’s Republican primary — and subsequently held rallies in Arizona, South Carolina and Iowa.

Trump’s approach also contrasts with that of many of his potential rivals, who have spent the past few months frequently visiting early voting states and trying to stand out with media appearances.

For example, former Vice President Mike Pence has given more than 40 interviews and has been promoting his new book.

Dan Eberhart, a former Trump campaign donor who said he would like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to be the nominee, said last week that he has “confirmed some things that we suspected all along.”

“We now know that many candidates plan to run for the nomination. At this time, no one seems ready to award the nomination to Trump or DeSantis,” Eberhart stated. “We also know that many people in the party are ready to move on without Trump. DeSantis currently appears to be his heir. We’ll have to see if he can stay in that position, but I don’t see many potential candidates who could challenge him, other than Trump himself.”

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