The debate over whether Donald Trump will run again in 2024 essentially started the day the 2020 election was certified. Trump has played coy, sometimes signaling it’s a done deal while at other times positioning himself as a king-maker. Numerous claims of an impending run have been made, with none of them ever being fully confirmed.
Now, a new report from Kate Bennett adds to the debate from another person’s perspective — Melania Trump.
Melania Trump’s disinterest in public political life runs deep enough that she has gone so far as to tell several friends that not only does she not intend to bolster her husband’s inflated political ambitions, she has zero desire for a White House redux, according to several people who spoke with CNN about her mindset. “Being first lady again is not what she wants,” said one of the people, who had a close relationship with Trump during her White House tenure. “For her, it was a chapter — and it’s over, and that’s that.”
The article goes on to describe various other sources who say Melania has no interest in returning to the White House, nor will she be active on the campaign trail regardless of whether Trump runs or just plays cheerleader. The latter is not surprising as she’s rarely shown much interest in politics.
But I’m not sure this really means what it’s being spun to mean. That Melania doesn’t want Trump to run again is hardly big news as that’s been assumed for a long time. She never seemed to enjoy her husband being president and has purposely stayed out of the spotlight since his departure from office. It’s been rumored she never wanted him to run in 2016.
In other words, how much this report speaks to you depends on how much pull you assume Melania has. Trump has never struck me as a person who backs down from something he wants to pursue at the urging of others. Further, would Melania choose to blow up a potential run behind the scenes if push came to shove? I have my doubts. Rather, I think she’d let her opinion be known while avoiding ultimatums.
Still, it’s interesting to speculate on whether her reported reluctance will play a role in Trump’s decision. As I’ve said before, the former president has zero incentive to announce a run until 2023. Lastly, while most assume there’s some master plan already in place, I don’t think Trump himself even knows what he’s going to do yet. He may have an idea or a desire, but the political landscape, who a probable successor will be, and what his family wants will all play some role. I see no reason to believe that has all been settled.
In short, we still know basically nothing. Scintillating, I know.