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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
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31 Aug 2022, 8:39 pm

Trump weighs delaying 2024 decision as political and legal troubles grow

Donald Trump is considering waiting until after the November midterms to launch a third presidential campaign as he navigates a widening array of legal troubles and mounting concerns that some of his hand-picked Senate candidates may be weaker than he once thought, sources familiar with his thinking tell CNN.

After months of eyeing Labor Day weekend as the target launch date for a 2024 campaign, Trump has spent the past few weeks backing away from that timeline following the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and an increased panic among Republicans that the party may not be in for the red wave it has long anticipated this November.

While his timeline could shift again between now and November, the onslaught of political and legal concerns has the former President feeling nervous about prematurely diving into the 2024 primary, according to nine former and current Trump aides and allies who requested anonymity to discuss internal matters.

The arguments from advisers wanting him to take his time with a campaign announcement have varied. Believing he will be the undisputed front-runner regardless of when he announces, some have said that if he launches another White House bid too early, he will run out of money around the time Republicans host their nominating convention, leaving him cash-strapped and vulnerable during the general election.

Better to address the legal fallout from the FBI search first, other advisers have told Trump and his team.
"Everyone was operating under the assumption that shortly after Labor Day would be the best possible time to launch, but that has changed and he's being told to deal with the FBI stuff first," said a Trump adviser.
Otherwise, advisers say, the former President is more likely to be blamed for potential losses in the midterms if he becomes a candidate for president before November and his legal troubles distract from the bread-and-butter issues most Republicans -- but especially those running in competitive races -- would prefer to focus on.
As Trump-backed Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Arizona struggle to eclipse their opponents in fundraising and recent polls, a growing number of Trump confidants have shared concerns with him that a pre-midterm announcement would be weaponized by Democrats, who remain eager to distract from inflation and rising crime and are well-versed already in using Trump as a campaign foil.

"There is a direct tie if Trump becomes a campaign ad in November and Republicans lose the Senate, and the last thing he wants is to be blamed," said a former Trump campaign aide.

Trump himself has started complaining in private about Mehmet Oz's performance in the Pennsylvania Senate contest and a spate of bad press that Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker generated earlier this summer when it became public that he had fathered several children out of wedlock despite routinely criticizing absentee fathers, this aide said.
In the days after federal investigators searched his waterfront residence in early August, Trump was inundated with calls from allies urging him to announce his bid for president immediately.

"It was so hot," said one Trump ally, describing the surging support Trump encountered among both grassroots supporters and top Republicans after he revealed the FBI had searched his home.

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