Republicans mulling run for president not waiting on Trump

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NASHVILLE, TN – Former President Donald Trump is teasing crowds across the country suggesting he may run for president again in 2024.

When asked if he thinks the 2024 Republican field is frozen until Trump makes up his mind, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News “I do not.”

“President Trump was perfect, perfect for 2016. We needed that kind of disruption,” Pompeo said. “If I come to conclude that I’m the right person to carry that mantle forward, I will go and try and make that case to the American people starting in the great state of Iowa.”

Pompeo, Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley delivered the keynote speeches at the three-day Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference in Nashville.

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This annual gathering of religious conservatives was designed to boost Republicans ahead of this year midterm elections. When asked about 2024, Pompeo and Haley maintained they were focused on helping Republicans win congressional and governors races across the country and will officially decide their own political futures after the midterms.

“I do not think I have to make that decision until the first of next year,” Haley told Fox News. “I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. If there’s a place for me, I will put 1000% and we’ll finish it.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures toward a reporter while speaking about the counting of votes in the US election during a briefing to the media, Tuesday, Nov.  10, 2020, at the State Department in Washington.  (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures toward a reporter while speaking about the counting of votes in the US election during a briefing to the media, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
((AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin, Pool))

“We will turn to that very question come the end of this year, the beginning of next year,” said Pompeo. “We will pray, we will work.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, another anticipated 2024 contender, was notably absent from this year conference. A source close to Pence said he was at an energy roundtable in Ohio and pointed out that he recently joined the Faith and Freedom Coalition in North Carolina. Coalition founder Ralph Reed said Pence is still very close to the organization.

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Pence heard some boos at last year conference after his break with Trump. Reed maintains there were a handful of vocal jeers then and that most of those booing were not coalition members, largely those who “just registered and showed up and protested him.”

“He’s a dear friend of the Faith and Freedom Coalition,” Reed said of Pence. “He’s spoken at multiple Faith and Freedom events in states all over the country. He’s always welcome here. He was invited this year. He’ll be invited back next year and he’ll be invited back every year.”

STANFORD, CA - FEB.  17: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University's Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Thursday, Feb.  17, 2022, in Stanford, Calif.  The Stanford College Republicans hosted the former vice president in an event titled

STANFORD, CA – FEB. 17: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Stanford, Calif. The Stanford College Republicans hosted the former vice president in an event titled “How to Save America from the Woke Left.” (Santiago Mejia / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Despite the early positioning of potential Republican contenders, the former president looms over the field.

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“Would anybody like for me to run for president?” Trump asked the crowd during his Friday keynote address. That drew the loudest applause of his speech. Trump has yet to officially announce another run for president.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence pose together on stage.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence pose together on stage.
(Getty Images)

Trump spent much of his address criticizing Pence for refusing to try to overturn the 2020 election and repeating unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Some senior Republicans have publicly implored Trump to move beyond his 2020 loss and focus on high inflation and energy prices, and southwest border surges that have dragged down Democrats’ approval ratings.

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Asked whether Trump should stop talking about 2020, Haley said “that’s up to him” and that Trump “feels heartburn over that. But we have to really focus on the fact that the American people are hurting, their wallets are hurting.”