WASHINGTON | Still popular with Republican voters, Donald Trump suggests that he could run for the White House again in 2024. But, threatened by legal trouble and criticized for his role in the murderous assault on Capitol Hill, he could see the rise obstacles on the way to a new candidacy.
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“With your help, we’ll take over the House of Representatives, we’ll take back the Senate, and then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House.” I wonder who it will be ”, launched, teasing, the 45e President of the United States on Sunday in front of a crowd of activists who came to listen to him at the meeting of the CPAC, a major meeting of American conservatives.
“He will come back,” read the flag of one of the supporters who eagerly awaited him outside in Orlando.
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A return to power would be almost unprecedented. Only one president has managed to secure two non-consecutive terms in American history: Democrat Grover Cleveland, elected in 1884, then defeated in 1888 before winning the White House again in 1892.
And an informal poll of the conquered CPAC audience reported a lukewarmness that surprised. While 95% of participants believed that the Republican Party should continue to follow the program led by Donald Trump, only 68% said they would like to see him run again in 2024.
The former Republican president was acquitted in February in his trial in the Senate for “inciting insurrection” by his supporters, during the assault on the Capitol on January 6.
If criminal prosecution for this attack on the seat of Congress seems unlikely, his judicial horizon remains busy.
In New York, the billionaire is the subject of an investigation that initially aimed at payments made, before the 2016 presidential election, to two alleged mistresses. It is now also examining possible allegations of tax evasion, insurance fraud or bank fraud. His accounting firm has submitted eight years of tax and banking declarations to justice.
A prosecutor from Georgia also announced in early February the opening of a preliminary criminal investigation into “attempts to influence electoral operations” in this state.
Save his business empire
The real estate mogul may decide to focus on reviving his family empire, the “Trump Organization”, battered during his tenure marked by deep divisions that have damaged the “Trump” brand.
Thus, during his presidency, residents had fought to remove his name from the facade of their building in New York.
Its business, focused on real estate and hotels, has also been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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2022, decisive turning point
“We are not going to create a new party, we are not going to divide our power. We will be united and powerful as ever ”, launched the former president on Sunday.
Quite a triumphant speech that could collapse depending on the results of the midterms parliamentary elections of November 2022.
Because, if he says he does not like the “losers”, Donald Trump has in fact three Republican defeats to his credit: the loss of the House of Representatives in 2018, that of the Senate in January, and the White House.
Whoever presents himself as a kingmaker, courted even in his luxurious residence in Florida by prospective candidates, will be expected at the turn.
If Republicans manage to retake the Senate and / or the House thanks to candidates dubbed by Donald Trump, the path to a new presidential candidacy will appear wide open.
If he fails, his Republican opponents, already outraged by the recent loss of the Senate that they attribute to him, will emerge strengthened to block his path.
If his hold on the party remains dominant, Republican candidates are already sharpening their electoral arguments.
Some, loyal supporters of Donald Trump, remain discreet while waiting for what he decides to do, such as Senators Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz or the governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem.
Others sharply criticized her for her role in the assault on Capitol Hill, such as former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senator Ben Sasse.
Its former vice-president, Mike Pence, could also line up in the race.
In addition, the age and shape of the billionaire will influence his decision, who will be 78 in 2024.