Sununu at RGA: No one cares about 2024 campaign announcements right now

Source: Hot Air

The Republican Governors Association’s annual winter meeting is happening in Orlando this week. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu joined the governors of Iowa, South Dakota and Tennessee in a panel discussion titled “the Future of the GOP.” With the timing of a certain Republican’s announcement about his 2024 ambitions on Tuesday, the subject of the 2024 presidential election was a part of the discussion.

Without saying Trump’s name, Sununu said it is way too early for anyone to be announcing a run for president in 2024. He said 2024 is too far away to be guessing about potential candidates. He rightly pointed out that the political atmosphere will change several times between now and then. It’s premature to be jumping in right now.

“The political atmosphere today will be 180 degrees different six months from now, 180 degrees six months after that, and then we’ll get to June of ’24. … We are so far away from all of it,” Sununu said. “Whatever announcements may or may not be happening tonight, nobody’s gonna care. We have so far to go. … There’s no job we can’t handle, but we are a long way off from ’24.”

Panel moderator Governor Pete Ricketts (Nebraska) asked the panelists for their predictions for 2024. The question prompted tepid responses from the governors. Governor Kristi Noem (South Dakota) said no one can predict that right now. Governor Bill Lee (Tennessee) said he “trusts the American people” to make the right decision, and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds pivoted to talking about her prediction that Iowa State Republicans will pass school choice legislation in the next two years. It’s clear no one really wanted the discussion on potential candidates in 2024. They were ducking and covering.

Of course the elephant in the room was Trump’s big announcement on Tuesday night. Yes, of course he is running again. What is interesting is watching the other Republicans who may have a desire to jump into the race maneuver around the former president. Earlier Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis responded to Trump’s attacks on him for the first time. He, too, avoided saying Trump’s name but it was clear at whom his remarks were aimed. Republicans are beginning to respond to Trump’s early entry into the 2024 primary campaign race without actually using his name.

Sununu’s statement that “nobody’s gonna care” if Trump enters the race is wishful thinking, though. Trump’s most ardent supporters care and are excited after his announcement. Other Republicans and independents are ready for a fresh face, a new candidate to run. I understand the implication of Sununu’s remark – it’s just too early and no one is ready to focus on 2024 yet. We’ve just come out of a bruising mid-term election cycle without the red wave of victories many of us had eagerly anticipated and everyone wants a little breathing room right now.

Most importantly, Republicans should be talking about the Georgia Senate run-off race between Republican Herschel Walker and the incumbent Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock. That is where Republican energy should be placed until December 6. Then, let everyone enjoy the holiday season and begin anew in January 2023. There is plenty of time.

I watched Trump’s announcement on Tuesday night. What struck me was what appeared to be a lack of energy. Is his heart into this? He wasn’t the usually fired-up Trump we are accustomed to seeing on the campaign trail. The announcement was much more like a presidential speech and it just seemed odd to me. Your mileage may vary. Melania was lovely, as usual, and I noticed Eric Trump in the audience. I did not see Ivanka and Don, Jr. Remember when Ivanka introduced her father at his Trump Tower announcement in 2015 before Trump and Melania came down on the escalator? There was none of that last night. The only family members listed as present during the announcement were Eric and his wife Lara, Jared Kushner, and Barron Trump.

Ivanka has decided to sit this campaign out. At least that is what she says now. She is taking a break from politics.

“I love my father very much,” ABC reporter Katherine Faulders reported Ivanka’s statement said. “This time around, I am choosing to prioritize my children and the private life we are creating as a family. I do not plan to be involved in politics.”

“While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena,” Ivanka’s statement continued. “I am grateful to have had the honor of serving the American people and I will always be proud of many of our Administration’s accomplishments.”

Republican senators are not stepping up to endorse Trump’s 2024 campaign yet. Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming was asked about Trump in 2024 and she said that it is DeSantis who is the new leader of the Republican Party.

Asked by a reporter for Politico whether she would endorse Trump, Lummis replied, “I don’t think that’s the right question.”

“I think the question is who is the current leader of the Republican Party. Oh, I know who it is: Ron DeSantis,” she said.

“I’m saying currently, Ron DeSantis is the leader of the Republican Party, whether he wants to be or not,” she explained.

Only one Republican lawmaker has come out and endorsed Trump’s 2024 bid, at least that I’ve seen so far. Rep. Elise Stefanik (New York) has done so. She was re-elected the House GOP Conference Chairwoman on Tuesday.