Former President Donald Trump does not appear to be concerned at all about primary challenges from the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls and looks to be squarely focused on facing President Joe Biden next year, according to a GOP strategist.
According to the Washington Examiner, Trump’s recent remarks to “Meet the Press” anchor Kristen Welker on abortion are an example that he’s focused on the general election. He said that if Republicans clamp down and exclude some extenuating circumstances such as rape, incest, or the health of the mother, they will likely lose key races because he believes that is where a majority of the country is.
“Without the exceptions, it is very difficult to win elections,” Trump noted Wednesday at a campaign stop in Dubuque, Iowa. “We would probably lose the majorities in 2024 without the exceptions, and perhaps the presidency itself.”
Jeffrey Lazarus, a political scientist at Georgia State University, told the outlet that Trump’s comments on the abortion ban made sense in their a certain context.
“If you’re a strategic Republican politician, the only reason you take a hardline stance on abortion is to win a primary election because that stance doesn’t win general elections,” Lazarus told the Examiner. “So the abortion comment to me is a sign that Trump thinks he has the primary sewn up. And I happen to agree with him on that one very small thing.”
But Trump’s positions on other issues — like running on clamping down again on illegal immigration — also indicate he’s campaigning now like he’s going to be the nominee.
“He’s definitely in general election mode. He’s skipping debates. He’s barely talking about his opponents. He’s clearly focused on Joe Biden and the November 2024 election,” national Republican strategist Brian Seitchik told the Examiner.
Alex Meyer, a former member of the Republican National Committee’s political data team, is a senior adviser to the Trump campaign focusing on Iowa and Missouri.
“Polling shows President Trump leading by nearly 40 points, but as he always tells us, put the pedal to the metal,” a Trump spokesperson told the Examiner. “We don’t play prevent defense, and his aggressive upcoming schedule reflects President Trump’s continued commitment to earning support in Iowa one voter at a time.”