Trump teases potential argument if he decides not to seek re-election
by Philip Klein | Washington Examiner
For now, all indications are that President Trump will seek re-election, but on Wednesday morning, he teased an argument we should expect to hear if he decides not to.
“Almost everyone agrees that my Administration has done more in less than two years than any other Administration in the history of our Country,” Trump wrote on Twitter as part of his pushback against Bob Woodward’s upcoming book.
It would be foolhardy to make any predictions about Trump’s political future. Media collectively doubted he’d ever run for president in the first place and treated his initial campaign as a PR stunt when he did run. Some predicted he’d drop out before Iowa, and of course he was never supposed to win. He’s also making all moves you’d expect of a president running for re-election (such as filing with the FEC, having a PAC, etc.)
But Trump has a knack for surprising us. He’ll be 74 by election day 2020, and could always decide that he’s had the experience of being president and wants to move on with his post-presidential life. We also have no idea what political circumstances are going to be like a year or two from now.
Given Trump’s personality, he isn’t going to want to bail on re-election under fire, as LBJ in 1968. And he won’t want to be beaten. He’ll want to portray it as if he’s going out on top. So the natural argument he’d make is: I don’t need to run re-election because I already achieved everything I wanted to in record time. Unlike mere mortal presidents, I don’t need eight years.
Then he’d rattle off statistics about a booming economy, tout tax cuts and repeal of the individual mandate, highlight his trade battles, say he beat Islamic State, ended the disastrous Iran deal, confronted North Korea, pulled out of the Paris climate accord, and so on.
He’d constantly argue, “I would have beat [Insert 2020 Democratic nominee] easily, and it would have been a lot of fun. But I already did everything I said I was going to do and made America great again!”
Smart money is still on him seeking re-election, not wanting to disappoint his supporters. But this is what we should expect if he chooses not to.