President Donald Trump is already telling advisers that he might run for president again in 2024, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.
This is significant not only because it’s a clear sign that Trump does understand he lost to President-elect Joe Biden, as Axios noted, but also because it would allow him to continue milking donors, spending others’ money at his own properties and hawking merchandise for the next four years.
Trump made history in January 2017 as the first president to declare his candidacy for reelection on the day of his inauguration.
By early 2019, Trump’s campaign committee had amassed “$67.5 million while seven major pro-Trump super PACs together [had] raised nearly $64 million more,” according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.
The Center noted last year that “Trump has expertly and endlessly marketed his political brand, peddling Trump T-shirts and trinkets and MAGA swag, the proceeds from which go directly to Donald J. Trump for President.”
While other major presidential campaigns, such as Clinton’s 2016 effort, have featured a bevy of promotional products, Trump has done with his political committee what he does as a businessman — market the Trump brand incessantly in attempts to turn a significant profit.
Similarly, The Washington Post reported in October that Trump’s campaign has directed millions of donor dollars to his businesses.
Trump’s campaign and fundraising committee paid $5.6 million to his companies since his inauguration in January 2017. Those payments — turning campaign donations into private revenue — continued even this year, as Trump fell behind in polls and his campaign ran short of money.
There is no reason to believe these practices would not continue if Trump decides to run again in 2024. Axios noted that presidents may only serve two terms, but they do not have to be consecutive.