By T.N. ASHOK
Washington, Nov 16 (IANS) Former US President Donald Trump’s third bid for the presidency in 2024 could not have come at a more “inopportune moment” with GOP divided in supporting him, funders shying away from him and both his daughter Ivanka and niece Mary not entirely on his side, but seems prompted by his fear that Florida governor Ro DeSantis might throw in his bid after his successful return in the midterms and stood a better chance than him.
But Don Jr, Melania, his wife though indifferent, and Eric Trump have supported their fathers return.
Trump had been advised first by his closest allies and friends not to announce his bid for presidency in 2024 before the midterm polls on November 08 and wiser counsel prevailed. But his humiliating defeat in the senate and house where his candidates flopped and his promised red wave failed to materialize, has robbed him of centre stage and he wants back.
Having promised his supporters he would make a surprise announcement on November 15, Trump once again went against the advice of his allies and friends to delay the announcement until after December 06 when the runoff for the Georgia result came in. An anxious Trump just wanted to preempt his rivals from announcing their bid – Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence out to avenge him for calling him a “wimp”.
As Maggie Habberman, the New York Times columnist and former New York Post correspondent who has closely followed him on his two presidential runs and interviewed him, knows his mindset as she said Trump feels empowered and secure only if he occupies the White House considering the legal baggage he carries.
The Jan 6 Capitol insurrection and his alleged incitement of riots, stashing 11,000 top secret documents in his Florida home with DOJ prosecuting him and the New York Attorney General Letitia James hounding him with a civil suit suing him for $250 million for consistent tax evasion and fraudulently securing loans from banks (Deutsche Bank) by inflating his property values have all made him feel very insecure and cagey, media reports said.
Billionaire media house owner Rupert Murdoch, once a close ally who featured him in his networks such as Fox News TV, Fox News Digital, the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, has soon after his announcement openly declared that he will not support his candidature to the White House in 2024.
Murdock broke with Trump soon after dismal performance and failure of a red wave with his handpicked candidates flopping when he featured Ron DeSantis as the future of the party in the New York post and castigated Trump with a stinging carton likening him to Humpty Dumpty falling from the wall calling it Trumpty Dumpty.
According to media reports, Trumps favourite daughter Ivanka’s and husband Jared Kushner had resisted his entreaties to be by his side on November 15 and both of them have felt they got burned in Washington. They don’t want to go back and expose their children to another episode of bitterness surrounding his 2020 campaign.
“They both feel they got burned in Washington and don’t want to go back and expose themselves and their children to another bitter campaign,” an insider in Trump circles told a tabloid.
Like Melania, Trump’s wife, the duo did not have a happy time in DC and reportedly fell out with allies including John Kelly , Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and Chris Christie, all of them being closest allies of Trump during his 2016-20 presidency.
Mary Trump, often considered the black sheep of the family, the niece of Trump, has rubbed him on the wrong side and emerged as one of her uncle’s most incisive critics since releasing her book about him, ‘Too Much and Never Enough’.
Dubbing him as a “Black Hole of Need”, Mary Trump, reportedly said the power hungry Trump had the clock ticking on his watch for the DOJ and attorney general Merrick Garland to decide on whether to indict him on the spiriting away of top secret documents to his Florida home.
“If he isn’t, then much worse things are going to start happening,” she warned.
Trumps bid for presidency in 2024 reveals no new promises or fresh campaign but repeats his old rhetoric of 2016 that put him in office — fighting crime, rebuilding the economy, stemming the flow of fentanyl and other deadly drugs, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and protecting America from foreign threats.
Trump however faces the greatest threat from his own party, the GOP, which is fast losing confidence in him as a star campaigner after his Red Wave flopped and many of his candidates were flipped by the democrats such as Mehmet Oz, Lara Lake and Herschel Walker among some others.
The 2022 midterm elections didn’t produce the hoped-for “Red Wave”, and the candidates Trump endorsed made a disappointing showing, says Forbes. Instead of cheering a potential second term, major Republican supporters are said to be looking for a more moderate name to back.
Most prominent name going around is Ron DeSantis whom both Trump and his daughter Laura have warned not to contest or face the consequences.
On the other side, though Biden has successfully stemmed the Red Wave and retained the Senate winning 50 seats and narrowing the lead with 209 seats to 217 seats of the republicans , just one seat away from the 281 majority, but results in California and Georgia yet to be decided, democrats still stand a slim chance of retaining the house. Biden is not being favoured within the party as they feel he’s too old at 82 for 2024 and a younger Gavin Newsom, California governor should be given a chance.
Despite Trump’s failure to retake the Senate, a section of the Republicans still believe he is the man to beat in 2024.
A new poll by politico and Morning Consult taken after the midterms shows that 47 per cent of GOP voters still support the former president if the primaries were held today. But this number is a one per cent drop from the 48 per cent before midterms.
What is actually worrying for Trump is, of those who were polled, only 61 per cent said they thought Trump should run for another term, a 10 per cent drop from the 71 per cent who felt he should run before the midterms results started flowing.
The poll also had a stunning revelation: 33 per cent of Republican voters said they would throw in their lot with Ron DeSantis if he were to get the party’s nomination. This is a 7 per cent jump for the Florida governor from the time before the midterms, and this spells bad news for Trump.
In recent months, DeSantis has distanced himself from Trump, and the former president is not taking this well. Trump has called DeSantis names by dubbing him as disloyal and referring to him as “Ron DeSanctimonious”, which even his conservative allies called as being very divisive.
During his speech on November 15, Trump declared, “America’s comeback starts right now.” It remains to be seen whether his comeback will be as successful.
By T.N. ASHOK