Donald Trump says he’s open to running for president again in 2024, but there are no immediate plans under way to turn the family into a political dynasty like the Kennedys or the Bushes.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, called Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Feb. 2 and told him she doesn’t plan to run against him when his seat is up in 2022, according to people familiar with the discussion who requested anonymity to discuss a private conversation.
Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also doesn’t plan to run for any office in the next election cycle, though he’s aware of suggestions that he pursue a Senate seat from Pennsylvania or Montana or move to Wyoming to challenge Republican Representative Liz Cheney, people familiar with his plans said. Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, voted to impeach the former president and was censured by her state Republican Party amid demands for her resignation.
One family member may still dip into politics. Lara Trump, who is married to Trump’s son, Eric, has seriously considered seeking public office and hasn’t made up her mind about running for the open Senate seat in North Carolina that will be vacated by retiring Senator Richard Burr, people familiar with her plans said. Two people close to the family said they doubt she files the paperwork to run.
A North Carolina native, Lara is planning a move to Florida, people familiar with her thinking said. But Lara, who has two young children, hasn’t ruled out a Senate bid, and could still buy a house in North Carolina, one person said.
The intrigue about the Trump family’s political plans comes as Donald Trump has said he’ll actively work on GOP races in 2022. He said he’s planning to back candidates who supported him and challenging any Republicans he believes were disloyal to him in the aftermath of the 2020 election, as well as those loyal to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a brewing GOP fight over the direction of the party.
On Tuesday, Trump issued a statement excoriating McConnell and vowing to back primary challengers to Republicans loyal to the Senate minority leader. That followed McConnell’s blistering speech blaming Trump for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and suggesting he may get involved in GOP primaries to ensure the winners are competitive in the general election.
Ivanka Trump’s phone call to Florida’s Rubio wasn’t connected to the Trump impeachment trial, one person familiar said. Rubio had said publicly in January that he thought the trial was counterproductive.
In a statement, Ivanka Trump said Rubio has been a “good personal friend” and that she knows he’ll “continue to drive meaningful progress on issues we both care deeply about” such as advocating for working families. Rubio also praised Ivanka Trump in a statement and thanked her “for her friendship and support.”
Trump has dangled the possibility he could run again for president in 2024. In a television interview on the conservative network Newsmax on Wednesday, he would only say, “Too early to say, but I see a lot of great polls out there, that’s for sure.”
Political analysts and some Republican operatives said Lara Trump would become an immediate front-runner in a Republican primary because of her name recognition and the strength of GOP voters’ loyalty to Donald Trump.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he thinks Lara Trump would benefit most from Trump’s impeachment because of the backlash from the GOP base. Burr’s vote to convict drew an immediate censure from the North Carolina Republican Party, and it made Lara Trump “almost the certain nominee” in North Carolina if she runs, Graham said.
“The biggest winner I think of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think she represents the future of the Republican Party.”
Lara Trump has shown herself to be an adept campaigner in her role as senior adviser to her father-in-law’s 2020 campaign, and she would have both grassroots and financial support from contributors to Donald Trump if she ran, said Brian Ballard, a fundraiser for Trump’s presidential campaigns.
“She would enjoy support of people like me who would say, ‘Listen, I’ve seen what she’s been able to do as a surrogate for the president, and I think she’s an attractive candidate,”’ Ballard said.
It would likely be a crowded GOP primary if Lara Trump ran, with former Republican Representative Mark Walker already announced and several other candidates weighing a run, said Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College in North Carolina. She would have to prove as a first-time candidate that she has campaign skills and policy chops to win, Bitzer said.
“The name carries weight, but ultimately she’s going to have to stand on her own when it comes to policy issues, when it comes to perspective,” he said. “She could mirror Donald’s philosophies and campaign strategy, but it’s ultimately going to be her name on the ballot.”
There will likely be candidates in 2022 who served in the Trump administration or are close to him, such as former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who’s running for Arkansas governor, said Republican consultant Scott Reed, the former chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But there’s a big difference between talking about running and actually announcing a candidacy and putting in the time and effort needed to win, Reed said.
“Lots of men and women have made careers on talking about running and never pulling the trigger,” he said.
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