WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is discussing possibly starting the 2024 campaign to resume the White House on Inauguration Day and postpone his successor’s swearing-in program, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
A “preliminary plan” for the Jan. 20 event to close the new Trump bid is underway, people familiar with the discussions said, although it is possible that the chairman could have already made the announcement because no final decision has been made.
Despite the timing of a campaign announcement, Trump is not expected to attend the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the discussions. He said he has no plans to invite Biden to the White House or even to invite him.
Biden transition officials said Trump’s presence at the inauguration, or lack thereof, would not affect his plans.
But Trump is keen on the idea of formally marking the 2024 campaign on Inauguration Day, as people familiar with the discussions said when he filed for re-election in 2017.
Trump has recently told some advisors that he intends to announce the 2024 campaign soon after meeting at the Electoral College on December 14, people familiar with the discussions said. If he had made the announcement earlier, he could still hold a campaign-style event or rally on 20 January. The Daily Beast first reported that Trump could hold a rally on Inauguration Day.
The Trump team is weighing whether to extend the lease on its 2020 campaign headquarters in Virginia, or to relocate to a smaller team that is elsewhere, said a person familiar with the discussion.
Already Trump has raised millions of dollars for his leadership political action committee, “Save America,” which was launched last month as an intermediary vehicle to finance his presidential plans. Although around 500 emails have been sent seeking donations for the “Election Defense Fund”, the fine print suggests that 75 percent may go to the new group.
The president has told aides and allies that he is thrilled to be fundraising since Election Day and has encouraged a campaign to keep the appeal afloat in the coming weeks, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
The Biden allies did not expect a traditional transition if he wins the election. In particular he did not anticipate that Trump would invite the presidential-election to the White House and worry about such a meeting given the lack of security protocols in the West Wing. NBC News has reported that Biden aides have determined the possibility of any such meeting, anyway.
It would be a rare, though not unprecedented, violation of norms for the sitting president’s swearing-in ceremony not to attend his successor. John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson all left the event, while Richard Nixon left the White House following his resignation and did not attend Gerald Ford’s swearing-in ceremony.