Trump, your 2024 GOP nominee

·2 min read

Former President Trump is telling most anyone who'll listen he will run again in 2024 — and poll after poll shows the vast majority of Republicans would gladly cheer him on and vote for him.

Why it matters: Trump is the heart, soul and undisputed leader of the Republican Party and will easily win the nomination if he wants it, the polls make unmistakably clear.

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It's not just idle chatter. Trump is spending much of his time thinking about politics, holding calls with his political team and surveying polling.

  • Trump is keeping close tabs on his would-be rivals for the nomination — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former V.P. Mike Pence and former SecState Mike Pompeo in particular.

  • A source close to Trump told me he "is keeping all options open for 2024. With [an 84%] approval rating in the Republican Party, he doesn't need to keep 'close tabs' on anyone."

What we're watching: Trump has been endorsing loyalists who back his fraud claims in secretary of state races around the country — a sign he’s thinking ahead about political levers and remains obsessed with the "Big Lie."

What we're hearing: Trump's most likely opponent is Pence, who — I'm told — has no plans to defer to his former boss.

Reality check: The idea someone could challenge Trump as an anti-Trump candidate seems ludicrous. The market is minimalist inside the new GOP.

  • That means someone would need to out-Trump Trump when the latest Quinnipiac Poll shows 8 in 10 Republicans want him to run.

  • Almost every top Republican we talk to said it would take a severe illness, death — or criminal charges sticking — to stop Trump from walking away with the race before it even begins.

Pompeo has been the most obvious about his presidential ambitions — starting a PAC and doing all the obvious travel.

  • Trump aides have commented on how much weight Pompeo has lost — another sign, they interpret, of his ambitions.

  • But Trump's advisers cannot imagine Pompeo or DeSantis would dare run against him.

Trumpworld is more uncertain about Pence, who has been quiet about his intentions but maintains a strong and loyal team around him.

  • Nikki Haley — the former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor, who's often talked of as a potential 2024 candidate — has explicitly said she wouldn’t challenge Trump.

Pence has notably not made any such declaration.

  • And you know who's noticed? Donald J. Trump.

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