Trump says he's made up his mind about 2024; timing of announcement is 'big decision'

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(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump says he has made a decision about running for the White House again in 2024. 

The “big decision,” he told New York magazine in an interview published Thursday, is whether to announce before or after November’s midterm elections.

“Well, in my own mind, I’ve already made that decision, so nothing factors in anymore. In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision,” he said.

He added, “Do I go before or after? That will be my big decision.”

Trump said announcing before the midterms could come with an advantage, dissuading other potential candidates from launching their own campaigns.

“Let people know. I think a lot of people would not even run if I did that because, if you look at the polls, they don’t even register. Most of these people,” he said. “And I think that you would actually have a backlash against them if they ran. People want me to run.” 

He also said wasn’t worried about other potential 2024 GOP candidates and that he didn’t consider Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely considered the top Republican contender should Trump not run, a rival.

Multiple sources told The Hill earlier this month that Trump and his allies have discussed making an announcement about his campaign status as early as this summer, and multiple news outlets reported that Trump was considering launching his campaign this month, possibly around the Fourth of July. 

But some advisers pushed against an earlier announcement, with one source telling The Hill there is no rush because Trump remains popular and influential in the Republican Party. 

One person knowledgeable about the discussions told New York magazine that Trump was prepared to announce his run on July 4, but allies like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were opposed to the idea because it would cause him to take responsibility for the midterm elections in November. 

In his interview, Trump denied considering a July 4 announcement. 

“I never said I was going to. That was just fake news. Somebody said that I was going to,” he said. “I don’t think it was any of our people.” 

A Republican strategist told The Hill that Trump announcing sooner would be beneficial for the former president but harmful for the party because it would support Democrats’ arguments tying the party to Trump.

Trump may also be motivated to make his announcement on the earlier side to reinforce his argument that the work of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection is politically motivated. 

The committee has held a series of public hearings over the past month and is expected to release a final report on its findings later this year. 

Some committee members have discussed the possibility of recommending charges against Trump for his actions leading up to and during the riot. 

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that two advisers said Trump is looking at announcing in September, and one source said there is a 70 percent chance Trump announces before the midterms. 

The Post reported that Trump has begun meeting with top donors to discuss the 2024 election, and his team has instructed others to have an online infrastructure ready if he announces soon. 

The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Trump well ahead of his potential GOP challengers, averaging 53 percent of the vote, followed by DeSantis with 20.5 percent. 

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