On Wednesday Donald Trump declared in all caps that “America needs a superhero” and said that he’ll be making a “Major Announcement” on Thursday. It’s set off a lot of morbid speculation about what Trump will announce. Is he dropping out of the 2024 race? Surrendering himself for arrest? We wouldn’t get that lucky.
Some of Trump’s allies are suggesting that he’ll announce he’s running for Speaker of the House. This wouldn’t be shocking. It’s difficult to imagine Trump getting the necessary 218 votes, because there are too many House Republicans in moderate districts who don’t want that hanging around their necks when they seek reelection in 2024. If these types spent their 2022 campaigns strategically trying to move on from Trump, why would they suddenly marry themselves to him?
That said, Kevin McCarthy is showing ongoing weakness by failing to round up 218 votes, and it’s leaving the door open for someone like Trump to at least try to wrangle up 218 votes of his own. At the least, Trump would get a couple weeks of headlines out of it before his bid failed. Most people would be too worried about looking foolish and tanking their legacy by launching a can’t-win Speaker bid like this. But Trump knows he’s on a path to prison anyway, so it’s not as if he has to worry about his legacy.
If anything, Trump and McCarthy battling each other for Speaker would only increase the odds that five House Republicans end up partnering with the House Democrats to elect a dark horse compromise candidate such as Liz Cheney. McCarthy’s best angle for becoming Speaker continues to be reminding his own caucus that they can either pick him or let the Democrats pick someone. But if Trump is also in the mix, the odds are greater that five House Republicans would work with the Democrats just to make sure Trump doesn’t end up with it.
But there are plenty of other possibilities for Trump’s announcement tomorrow. Some observers suspect he’ll announce a running mate – perhaps Kari Lake – in the hope of making his laughable 2024 “campaign” look more legitimate. If Trump running for Speaker is the worst scenario for the GOP, then Trump pushing forward with his 2024 presidential campaign by announcing a running mate might be the second worst scenario for the GOP. He’s broadly unpopular, so they’re selfishly trying to move on, but he doesn’t seem to want to let them.
Anything is possible, but this is all just speculation for now. For all we know, this could end up being yet another empty Trump stunt in which he gets all eyes on him for 24 hours and then he ends up announcing something as mundane as a book deal.
One thing to keep in mind about Trump is that because he knows he’s going to lose everything anyway once Special Counsel Jack Smith takes him down, he has nothing to lose. He can announce something unrealistic or ridiculous. He can grab everyone’s attention for something like this and then just announce he’s eating an ice cream sandwich. But while Trump has nothing to lose, he’s also rapidly running out of bandwidth. Most people already don’t care about his 2024 “campaign.” Any more announcements that no one cares about, and people are going to stop listening to Trump entirely.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report