Trump expected to announce 2024 campaign before end of November

Envoys quietly start to prepare groundwork for aggressive field operation, putting Trump at center of attention ahead of midterms

Donald Trump is expected to announce a third White House campaign before the end of November as envoys have quietly started to prepare the groundwork for an aggressive field operation, according to people familiar with the matter, thrusting him into the center of attention ahead of Tuesday’s midterms.

The plans for a potential 2024 campaign have started to accelerate in recent weeks, with the former president and his advisers signalling that an announcement is imminent and aiming to capitalize on his position as the clear frontrunner to seize the GOP nomination.

Expecting broad Republican gains in an array of midterm races, Trump has indicated that he wants to launch his latest presidential campaign around the week of 14 November on the back of that momentum, taking credit for Republican wins that were bolstered by his endorsements and those that were not.

The date, earlier reported by Axios, is not final and partly dependent on GOP performance in the midterms. But Trump has been eager to start a 2024 campaign in part because he believes it could shield him from intensifying criminal investigations by the US justice department.

The anticipated presidential campaign is expected at first to be a tight-knit operation, with the core team mainly drawn from his recently created Maga Inc political action committee, which plays off his Make America Great Again slogan and where staffers were told when they joined that they could become part of the 2024 campaign personnel.

The early team is widely expected to include a leadership role for Susie Wiles, the chief executive at the Save America Pac. He has credited her with winning him Florida when he captured the Oval Office in 2016, and she had a complicated tenure working with another Republican political darling: Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis.

Wiles was recently a top adviser to DeSantis until she was ousted after being accused of leaking emails showing the governor appearing to sell access to lobbyists on golf trips, leading some allies to believe she would be an asset if Trump finds himself in a 2024 race against DeSantis.

The Maga Inc staffers expected to play leading roles on a 2024 campaign include senior strategist Chris LaCivita, veteran pollster Tony Fabrizio and the committee’s executive director, Taylor Budowich, considered a capable political operator who is additionally Trump’s main spokesperson.

Trump has also raised the possibility of bringing back his 2020 deputy campaign manager, Brian Jack – as well as his close partner Justin Clark, who worked on litigation related to the January 6 Capitol attack – and Scott Gast, the chief counsel for Compass Legal Group and a Trump representative with the National Archives.

But in recent weeks, Trump envoys have started sending out feelers for people who might be interested in working as Trump 2024 field directors, one of the sources said, offering up to double the usual salary of what a presidential campaign field director might otherwise make.

The plans for the anticipated presidential campaign have intensified as the justice department moves forward with several criminal investigations surrounding Trump, including over potential mishandling of national security documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and over the January 6 attack.

Some advisers have told Trump that the timing could be positive since the combined effects of announcing a presidential run and daring the justice department to indict him as a candidate could drown out political messaging by congressional Democrats and the Joe Biden White House.

Trump remains the fixation of the political and media world, and the reach of Trump coverage invariably exceeds that of Biden. Page views on stories about Trump and the justice department can reach millions, a figure multiple times greater than stories about Biden’s presidency.

On Thursday night in Iowa, Trump opened a swing of four rallies in the final five days of the midterm campaign season, where he was joined by the Republican senator Chuck Grassley, who is seeking re-election for an eighth time.

The rally underscored both Trump’s significant baggage and his popularity with his base – tens of thousands of supporters turned out on a frigid night where temperatures dipped below 40F (4.5C) to hear the same grievances about his 2020 election defeat to Biden that he has delivered countless times.

The loudest cheers came when he talked, almost giddy with excitement, about his own campaign. “In order to make our country successful and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again,” he said of another White House bid. “Get ready – that’s all I’m telling you. Very soon.”


Hugo Lowell in Washington

The GuardianTramp

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