Donald Trump's presidential announcement isn't generating much excitement so far among conservatives.
The twice-impeached former president has hardly ventured away from his private Mar-a-Lago resort, where he announced his 2024 campaign and from which he has made video appearances at Republican events, and he finds himself increasingly isolated from his GOP allies after midterm election losses and a series of controversies, reported the Washington Post.
“The former president presents our biggest risk of losing for 2024, and conservatives are tired of losing,” said Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa-based social conservative group Family Leader. “Even the former president’s announcement is being greeted like it never happened. There’s no buzz amongst my network at all.”
Trump's campaign officials insist the rollout is going just as planned, and they say he'll start doing more public events next month, possibly starting in Iowa, where the first Republican nominating contest will take place.
“We’re still two years out,” an official said. “There’ll be a time to do events and a time to do rallies.”
The early announcement was planned to keep potential rivals out of the race and help Trump stay ahead of a possible indictment, according to advisers, but instead it prompted attorney general Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to oversee Trump investigations and Republicans have called for challengers to enter the race.
“I’m hoping to have other options," said Sen. John Thune (r-SD), the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, "and I think we will have other options who represent a new generation of leadership. I think there are going to be a lot of our candidates that start to emerge who say if we want to win the presidency in 2024, if we want to get the majority back in the Senate, we’ve got to move in a different direction in terms of our message.”
Republicans are more willing to publicly distance themselves from Trump than they ever have been since he won the 2016 nomination.
“I think he’s less relevant all the time,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “Even if you capture all the Trump voters, you may be able to win a primary, but you’re not necessarily going to win a general election, and in this business, you have to win an election before you actually govern.”