Trump — who rose to prominence as a reality television host and has maintained a close watch on television ratings throughout his presidency — is reportedly considering having a competing rally that would take eyes off Biden’s event and give him the chance to announce a 2024 bid.
According to Axios, there are a few reasons this plan would please Trump, who has yet to concede that he lost the election or begin the process of welcoming the Bidens to the White House, as outgoing presidents traditionally do. For starters, he could use his Inauguration Day event to announce a 2024 presidential run, setting him up to be more consequential while he plays an antagonistic role in Biden’s presidency. Second, flying away from the White House on Air Force One would help him avoid protesters and the spectacle of the inauguration altogether.
If Trump does have a rally that day, the screaming crowd of supporters will offer stark contrast to the subdued and traditional inauguration.
It could also set up the second big ratings competition between the two men. The first came late in this year’s election cycle, when NBC News announced a town hall with Trump during the same time slot ABC News had set aside for a Biden town hall days before. Ultimately, Biden won that one, averaging 14.1 million total viewers compared to Trump’s 13.5 million.
NBC’s broadcast channel drew 10.9 million total viewers for the October event, MSNBC added 1.8 million and CNBC chipped in with 720,000 viewers. But the simulcast was not enough to topple Biden on ABC alone.
An Inauguration Day duel would be different, of course, because neither event would be network-specific. All major networks would have to decide how much time would be given to the events for the incoming and outgoing presidents.
For now, a White House spokesperson is quoted in the Axios report saying that when Trump has plans for Jan. 20, he’ll make them known.