“Hopefully today will turn out to be one of the most important days in the history of our country,” former President Donald Trump posted on his Truth Social platform early Tuesday, teasing what is widely expected to be his formal entry into the 2024 presidential race.
Trump appears set to launch his campaign despite pleas from across his party asking him to hold off until after the Dec. 6 runoff for the Georgia Senate seat. The race will not decide which party holds the Senate, which was retained by the Democrats when the Nevada vote was called for incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto Saturday night. The call came during Tiffany Trump’s wedding at her father’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The Wall Street Journal returned to its theme from last week that Trump’s prospects are exhausted, the latest effort from the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper to dampen support for the 45th president’s leadership in the Republican Party.
Stating that Trump is “barreling ahead” with his announcement, the Journal wrote, “The irony is that more Democrats than Republicans will be elated because they see him as the easiest candidate to beat one more time,” the Journal wrote in an editorial.
The opinion piece laid out two reasons Trump is announcing so early.
“The first is to try to clear the Republican field of potential competitors, especially Govs. Ron DeSantis and Glenn Youngkin, who have shown they can win in competitive states,” the opinion piece stated.
“Mr. Trump also wants to get ahead of a possible Justice Department indictment. If Mr. Trump is already announced as a candidate seeking President Biden’s job, he figures he can portray an indictment by Attorney General Merrick Garland as political and rally Republicans to his side,” the Journal wrote, adding that the fate of his favored candidate in Georgia, former NFL player Herschel Walker, “is incidental to Mr. Trump’s ambition.”
While the piece acknowledged what it called “many policy successes” during Trump’s four-year term, it said that “his character flaws—narcissism, lack of self-control, abusive treatment of advisers, his puerile vendettas—interfered with that success.” His “erratic behavior” at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic gave Biden “the opening to campaign for normalcy,” it continued, and Trump “lost a winnable election.”
Had Trump accepted defeat, the Journal argued “he might now be poised for a comeback given Mr. Biden’s unpopularity.” But instead, Trump contested the outcome “well past any reasonable limit” and then encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, all the while badgering his vice president to stop the Electoral College vote.
“The deadly riot will forever stain his legacy,” the Journal stated.
The editorial repeated the charges the paper brought last week that continuing to deny the 2020 election results is a “loser’s game” that helped Democrats keep the Senate and diminished the prospects for Republicans in this year’s elections. “The country showed it wants to move on, but Mr. Trump refuses—perhaps because he can’t admit to himself that he was a loser,” the Journal wrote.
“Mr. Trump will carry all of that baggage and more into a 2024 race,” it continued, noting that he divides Republicans even though supporters say he is the only candidate who can take on “a willful, increasingly radical left.”
“Even if by some miracle Mr. Trump won, he would have a hard time filling an Administration with top-notch people. He could only serve one more term. Republicans would be nominating an immediate lame duck.”
The Journal questioned whether Trump would accept a loss in the Republican primaries, or sabotage the winner by encouraging supporters to stay home or running as a third-party candidate.
The editorial said the discord likely to result from another Trump candidacy is “precisely what Democrats want as they hope Republicans nominate him.”
“The GOP, and the country, would be best served if Mr. Trump ceded the field to the next generation of Republican leaders to compete for the nomination in 2024. If Mr. Trump insists on running, then Republican voters will have to decide if they want to nominate the man most likely to produce a GOP loss and total power for the progressive left.”