One of the most persistent – and persistently misguided – ideas about Donald Trump is that he isn’t enjoying being President and won’t run for a second term in 2020.
That’s never been true. And, on Tuesday, we got some concrete evidence of Trump’s plans: He announced that Brad Parscale, who headed up the digital operation for Trump in 2016, would be his campaign manager in 2020.
“He has our family’s complete trust and is the perfect person to be at the helm of the campaign,” said Eric Trump, one of the President’s three sons.
No one should be surprised by any of this. Literally not one person.
Soon after he won the White House, Trump set up a re-election committee so that he could raise money for his 2020 race. And raise money he did. According to Federal Election Commission filings, Trump raked in upwards of $32 million in 2017 for his 2020 race – banking more than $22 million.
And, when asked, Trump and his surrogates have made very, very clear that he is planning to seek a second term. “Of course, he’s running for re-election,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters last summer.
Given all that, I am consistently stunned by how many people seem to be convinced that Trump isn’t really all that interested in the office – or trying to hold onto it in 2020. It’s similar to the theory – prevalent in some circles – during the 2016 Republican primary and even the general election that Trump didn’t really want to be president. And that, because of his disinterest in the job, he would find a way to leave the race before the November election. He, um, didn’t.
That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who Donald Trump is – and always has been.
Trump is someone who has spent his whole life feeling as though he is on the outside looking in. Whether that’s how his father was a big deal real estate developer in Queens but not Manhattan, or that Trump himself wasn’t accepted into the clubs and cliques of Manhattan wealth as a young rich guy, or that the political class laughed at him when he came to Washington thinking about entering politics in 2011, the prime motivator in Trump’s life is a resentment toward those who shunned him and a burning desire to prove them wrong.
Getting elected President proved everyone – all of the haters, the losers, the naysayers over Trump’s adult life – wrong. No one could dismiss him as a circus sideshow anymore. He had made it. He was one of only 44 men ever to be elected President. They could never, ever take that away from him.
Why then would Trump voluntarily walk away? He wouldn’t. This is the job – and the national spotlight – that Trump has always craved and never thought he would actually get. Now that he has it, he’s not giving it up unless he absolutely has to.
Hopefully, Trump’s announcement of a campaign manager for a race that’s almost three years away will convince people that all of the talk about whether or not he runs again is simply wrong. You can hate Trump and think he is a bad President. But it’s wishful thinking to convince yourself that he will do anything other than run for a second term in 2020.
Not only that: Assumptions that Trump is a sure-fire loser no matter who Democrats nominate are very premature. Trump has been building a re-election machine since the day he won. And that won’t be easily beaten in three years’ time.