[guest post by Dana]
Well, this didn’t take long:
Top Republicans who have spent months trying to dissuade Donald Trump from announcing another presidential campaign before the midterms are coming around to the idea, after an unprecedented search of the former President’s Mar-a-Lago property by federal investigators on Monday lit up the GOP base.
Trump has received a fresh wave of encouragement to jump start his next presidential campaign in the 24 hours since his primary residence became the target of an FBI search warrant, several sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The former President, who is widely expected to run again, had previously eyed Labor Day as his target launch date, but is now being advised to accelerate his timeline to capitalize on what Republicans have described as extraordinary overreach and political persecution by Justice Department officials, including by advisers who previously counseled him to take his time with a 2024 announcement.
“My advice that we should wait until after the midterms was based upon a rather standard landscape. [The Justice Department] set off a nuclear bomb on that landscape yesterday. This is no longer a business-as-usual campaign. Not even close,” said Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump confidant, who previously urged the former President to wait for the 2022 election outcome before diving into a presidential primary.
bizarre exactly what you would expect from Trump and his advisors: Parlay a lawful FBI search of his residence for potential mishandling of classified documents into a “witch hunt,” rally the troops, watch them circle the wagons and then announce a run for 2024. It’s really amazing that a former president who was twice impeached and is currently the subject of any number of investigations appears to be the Republicans’ go-to guy. But since he is in full victim mode and his supporters are amped and ready as they issue warnings about upcoming wars, Gestapo tactics, defunding federal agencies, Banana republics, and cleaning out D.C., it makes perfect sense for him to announce sooner rather than later. Strike while the iron is hot! After all, there’s no telling if when the next crisis will happen.
Interestingly, this puts Trump’s biggest threat (if Gov. Ron DeSantis decides to run) in a tricky position. Yesterday’s events forced his hand because, while he has not said much about Trump lately and knows that he may end up running against the former president, he also knows that Trump continues to control the Republican Party. Thus, he was compelled to come to Trump’s defense after the search at Mar-a-Lago:
The raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves. Now the Regime is getting another 87k IRS agents to wield against its adversaries? Banana Republic.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) August 9, 2022
However, it appears that both men may benefit from the FBI search yesterday:
A Florida GOP operative also highlighted that the FBI’s action could politically benefit both DeSantis and Trump, though for differing reasons.
“This is a unique opportunity for DeSantis because he can highlight the ongoing battle with the radical left and at the same time further distance himself from Trump,” said a veteran Florida Republican operative…“DeSantis continues to be the perfect combination of political skill and good fortune.”
The operative, however, sees the FBI search as something that could give Trump heightened momentum with a Republican base that in recent months has started to line up behind DeSantis.
“What makes things interesting is that Trump has almost no choice but to get in and spend the next several months doing everything he possibly can to secure the base,” the person added. “The only thing that helps push back against potential criminal liability is a high level political candidacy.”
I’m already exhausted at the prospect of it all.