Well, one of the very first events scheduled in connection to the always expected 2024 campaign for president from Donald Trump doesn’t sound like it’s going quite as well as it could. Despite pushes from a group ranging from Trump’s own team to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a series of South Carolina Republicans aren’t attending.
The event is scheduled for this week in the capital, Columbia, where up to about 500 people will be able to attend. Among the complicating factors is that multiple prominent Republicans hailing from South Carolina, including former Governor Nikki Haley, who served in Trump’s own administration, could announce campaigns for president, as could other high-profile GOP’ers, like Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, and Mike Pompeo (some of whom definitely seem to have higher chances of actually getting near the nomination than others). Trump does have South Carolina GOP Governor Henry McMaster on his side — but are one or two endorsements alongside other prominent officials potentially endorsing somebody else enough to stem Trump’s losses?
“Several other state lawmakers have also told Trump’s team that they will not be able to make it, according to people familiar with the conversations,” The Washington Post reported Sunday. “The Trump campaign is trying to consolidate support,” a Republican state legislator in South Carolina said. “But I don’t think it is going to be as quick as they think… Right now my constituency is as excited about Ron DeSantis as Donald Trump, if not more.” Polling of potential voters in the GOP presidential primary has shown DeSantis making a credible showing against Trump — and sometimes leading.
Relatedly, the executive director for the South Carolina state Republican Party recently rejected an employment opportunity with the Trump campaign, with the Post tying her choice to a decision to keep her state role through the 2024 elections — although there’s obviously the related possibility of a credibility issue if new figures closely associate themselves with Trump and his campaign goes as awry as before. Trump can’t even count on all of his allies for his upcoming event, although it might just be scheduling issues with figures like Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who it looks like might not attend the gathering.
The Post notes another potentially significant problem for Trump. As he remains banned from Facebook, he can’t raise money through the platform, at least through any account that would be covered by the site’s restrictions. A decision on whether to keep Trump’s suspension active could come soon. His account was reinstated on Twitter under Elon Musk’s leadership, but he hasn’t gone back and used it. Instead, he just keeps posting on his personal account on his knock-off social media site Truth Social, where he keeps up the pace of his rants against those daring to investigate or seek to hold him accountable for his conduct. Trump is also sticking to predictable confidence about his chances in the 2024 presidential race, although direct polling and other factors — like Biden’s recovered approval from the public and the generally positive economic indicators that have been documented, alongside Trump’s antagonistic nature — make it ridiculous to imagine Trump is somehow some kind of confirmed front-runner.