Like millions of other people, Donald Trump has reportedly been “riveted” by the January 6th hearings. Apparently, watching your former colleagues and very favorite child turn against you makes for some pretty fascinating television—not to mention some pretty compelling evidence that the former president was one of the key architects of the deadly Capitol riots of 2021. It’s that latter part that apparently has Trump itching to finally let the world in on whether or not he plans to run for president again in 2024.
Over on Puck, political reporters Julia Ioffe and Tara Palmeri had a fascinating conversation about what they’ve been hearing about Trump’s potential run in 2024, and how the hearings are playing into his decision on the timing of that announcement. Ioffe has heard rumblings about Trump being anxious to declare his candidacy before Ron DeSantis does. And Palmeri’s been hearing a lot about the many reasons why the former president might be looking to fast-track Announcement Day:
Advisors I’ve spoken with say that Trump is desperate to turn the national conversation away from January 6. He’s calling around, asking for advice, and realizes he doesn’t have the same microphone he would have as a candidate. That’s a big thing that’s motivating him to announce.
He’s also obsessed with the perception that January 6 is hurting him with big donors, who are tired of the antics and worry about how his January 6 baggage will impact the presidential election if he decides to run. Not to mention they’re having a bit of a love affair right now with DeSantis, who they are donating to under the guise of his gubernatorial campaign. He’s raised more than $100 million.
Palmeri also made mention of a Politico article which stated that Trump has been “quietly conven[ing] some of his wealthiest and highest-profile supporters for intimate dinners in recent weeks, where the groups have talked about the former president’s 2024 election plans — and debated when he should make his expected comeback bid official.”
While a presidential hopeful fundraising is hardly newsworthy, what makes this particular tidbit rather telling, according to Palmeri, is that Trump is hosting these dinners all around the country — Houston, Nashville, and Las Vegas, so far — rather than at one of his tacky golf palaces.
“This reeks of desperation to me,” says Palmeri, “because one thing I remember from covering the Trump White House was that he absolutely hated overnights, and they always tried to arrange trips so that he could be back at home, sleeping in his own bed. This means he’s courting the money, not just holding court in Bedminster as he could do when he was president. It suggests that he’s feeling insecure about his status among the donor class, something I’ve heard from his advisors. Indeed, the January 6 hearings have reinforced his toxicity to some mega-donor Republicans, but one top bundler stressed to me that a mass exodus has not occurred yet.”
Given how many new witnesses have reportedly surfaced in the wake of Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive testimony about Trump’s toddlerish behavior and direct involvement in the plan to overthrow our democracy, only time—and more witness testimony—will tell if and when that mass exodus occurs.