Washington: A striking report from Axios news site claims that President Trump is considering a dramatic White House departure that includes a final Air Force One flight to Florida where he will host an opposing rally during Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
“The Trump talk could create a split-screen moment: the outgoing president addressing a roaring crowd in an airport hangar while the incoming leader is sworn in before a socially distanced audience outside the Capitol,” Alayna Treene of Axios wrote.
People familiar with the discussions told NBC News that Trump plans to skip the swearing-in ceremony of his successor and that he has floated the idea of a Florida rally to announce a 2024 bid to reclaim the White House.
The White House and Trump campaign have denied the Axios report.
Meanwhile, Trump’s public and private musings about running again in 2024 are scrambling the calculus for the large field of fellow Republicans considering bids.
Prospective GOP candidates don’t want to risk alienating Mr. Trump’s base by appearing to push him aside, but they also don’t want to be left unprepared if he decides not to run.
Mr. Trump—who managed to get more than 74 million votes in his losing effort this year—demonstrated his grip on the party base with last Saturday’s rally in Georgia for two senators locked in tight runoff elections. “Four more years, four more years,” a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd chanted. He is raising millions of dollars for a newly formed political committee that can fund future campaign activity.
“Trump blocks out the sun on all of the other prospective candidates,” said Kevin Madden, a former adviser to Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and now a senator from Utah. “You show up in New Hampshire and talk about the future of the GOP, you immediately put a target on your back with Trump and his followers. Are you willing to take that fight on?”