Former President Trump could be a presidential candidate by the end of the year, according to Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s top advisers and his 2016 campaign manager.
In an interview Friday with CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge, asked whether Trump, who has indicated he plans to run again, would announce his candidacy after the midterm elections — by Thanksgiving — Conway responded, “Well, he would like to.”
“He’s as active as anybody in these midterm elections. That’s important to the calculus also, Catherine, because we have the most ironic, if not unprecedented situation right now,” Conway said. “We have a president, a current president, whose party doesn’t really want him to campaign with them.”
“I think once those midterms are done, President Trump can assess the timing of his announcement,” Conway continued. “I will tell you why he wants to run for president — Donald Trump wants his old job back.”
When, she said her advice to Trump was to wait for a few months. Conway, the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign, served as the former president’s counselor for most of his tenure.
“My advice to the president privately is my advice to him publicly, which is, ‘If you want to announce, wait until right after the midterms,'” she said this summer.
As she suggested in July, Conway reiterated her feeling that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate who is currently dealing with the devastation wrought by, should wait to run. Finishing two terms as Florida governor, she said, would better position DeSantis for a future presidential bid. “He has the skills, he has the temperament, he has the moxie, and he has the the commitment to do that,” Conway told Herridge.
“Many of his generational peers will have been in the United States Senate,” Conway continued. “So if he’s running against a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Marco Rubio, let’s say Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and others, Ron DeSantis, his argument is you’ve been in the United States Senate, sometimes in the minority party, sometimes in the majority party, but what have you got to show for it? They’ll have to answer those questions. He’ll say, I’ve been the governor of the third largest state. Look what I’ve done.”
She dismissed the notion that Trump and his political team are concerned about competition from DeSantis in 2024 —”I don’t think they are, no,” she said. “They’re friends, they’re allies. I think people want Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump to be two scorpions in a bottle.” She added, “They’re just not.”
The interview with Conway airs on CBS News Streaming Friday.
Grace Kazarian contributed reporting.