Speaking about the future of the Republican Party on Tuesday, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said it’s very likely that former President Donald Trump would win the nomination for president if he decided to run again in 2024.
“I don’t know if he’ll run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I’m pretty sure he will win the nomination,” Romney said in an interview with The New York Times.
Romney also acknowledged that “a lot can happen between now and 2024,” but stuck to his prediction that Trump would be the nominee if he chose to run. He cited polling data for the reason he held to this belief, noting that Trump was far beyond where any other potential candidate was at, in terms of preferences for the next presidential election.
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“I look at the polls, and the polls show that among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide,” Romney said.
Polling does indeed show Trump ahead of the rest of the GOP pack of potential candidates. When Republican voters were asked who they preferred among a list of names — including Romney’s — for the 2024 nomination, most of those surveyed showed a clear preference for the former president.
Romney garnered 4 percent support in a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll from earlier this month, while fellow Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) received about 3 percent. Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley garnered 6 percent, and former Vice President Mike Pence received 12 percent of backing from those taking part in the poll.
Trump outdid them all, receiving 54 percent support from Republican respondents to run for president in 2024.
Some have suggested, however, that Trump should not set his eyes solely on the White House. Speaking to a group of Republicans earlier this month, Steve Bannon, who was briefly the chief strategist to Trump during the first year of his presidency, said Trump should also consider a congressional run between now and 2024.
If Republicans won the House in 2022, Bannon said, and if Trump was among those who ran and won, he could convince the GOP caucus to let him become Speaker of the House as well, ousting current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) from the position.
Trump could then run for president two years later, if he still wanted to do so.
“Trump is a disruptor, but he has a long-term vision because I absolutely believe in the marrow of my bones that he will be our nominee in 2024,” Bannon explained. “He’ll come back to us. We’ll have a sweeping victory in 2022, and he’ll lead us in 2024.”
Bannon also attempted to feed into the “big lie” being perpetuated by Trump loyalists, of Biden being an illegitimate winner in 2020 due to election fraud, a claim that has absolutely no basis in reality. As Speaker of the House, Trump could in theory try to rectify what supposedly happened to him, Bannon noted.
“The first act of President Trump as Speaker [of the House] will be to impeach Joe Biden for his illegitimate activities of stealing the presidency,” the former adviser said.
Trump has been unusually quiet about his future plans, but sources close to the former president say that, in his upcoming speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida this weekend, he will attempt to brand himself as both the current leader of the GOP as well as the presumptive nominee for the 2024 presidential election.
Some of those sources have also said Trump is planning to be a “kingmaker” in the 2022 midterm elections, supporting candidates that are loyal to him while attempting to oust those in the party who weren’t always on his side when he was in office.
He will undoubtedly get a lot of support from Republican voters no matter what route he takes. But while polling data does show Trump has a strong chance to woo over Republicans in the next presidential primary process, Americans overall are not happy with the idea, with 54 percent of voters from all political leanings saying they’d rather he “remove himself from politics entirely” versus remain in GOP politics, according to a recent CNBC/All-America Economic Survey published in February.