by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former President Donald Trump bashed President Biden, railed against Big Tech companies, and hinted that he would run for reelection in 2024. For 90 minutes, he delivered the sort of speech his supporters hope can power him back to the White House.
Just one question: Will he actually do it?
“He was never going to use that platform to announce he was running,” said a former Trump adviser. “It’s the art of the tease.”
Cocooned in the sunshine of Florida, splitting his time between his home and office at Mar-a-Lago and his nearby golf club, locals say he has cut a relaxed figure as he decompressed from his last, turbulent weeks in office.
On Sunday evening, after delivering a wide-ranging speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando that was akin to any of his wild campaign rallies, he was back at his West Palm Beach golf club for “fish night.” Trump was spotted dining with his social media guru, Dan Scavino, and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows before leaving early to call into Fox News.
His loyal former White House aides likely were delighted at his positive reception and a straw poll from CPAC suggesting he is the favorite for the nomination the next time the Republican Party selects a candidate.
It places firmly at the head of the party — but with a big decision to make about 2024.
“Trumpworld” insiders who feared the former president had lost too much appeal after his supporters attacked the United States Capitol have turned bullish on his 2024 chances.
“There’s a less than zero chance that the Republican nominee isn’t either Donald Trump or somebody that Donald Trump anoints or approves or endorses,” said a former senior White House official.