By:
November 16, 2022

It’s official. Donald Trump is running for president in 2024. The former president made the announcement Tuesday night in a speech that lasted more than an hour. And while the news excited some, particularly his Make America Great Again loyalists, the news was not greeted with unanimous approval among conservatives and conservative media.

In a scathing editorial this week, The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote about Trump running for president again in 2024. The short version: They think it’s a lousy idea. The board suggests Democrats might be more excited than Republicans because Democrats see Trump as “the easiest candidate to beat one more time.”

They wrote that his character flaws — “narcissism, lack of self-control, abusive treatment of advisers, his puerile vendettas” —  helped cost him the 2020 election, and that the midterms show he’s playing a “loser’s game” by continuing to make false claims about the 2020 election.

The Journal’s editorial board lists several reasons why Trump as president is a bad idea, including that he would have a hard time surrounding himself with good advisors and would be a lame-duck president. But, they say, because the Republican party appears fractured right now, Trump might have enough votes among his loyal base to eke out the nomination.

However, the board writes, “The GOP, and the country, would be best served if Mr. Trump ceded the field to the next generation of Republican leaders to compete for the nomination in 2024. If Mr. Trump insists on running, then Republican voters will have to decide if they want to nominate the man most likely to produce a GOP loss and total power for the progressive left.”

Meanwhile, Marc A. Thiessen, a Washington Post columnist, Fox News contributor and former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote “Dear President Trump: Please don’t run again.”

Thiessen wrote, “I say all this in sadness, not anger. I will always defend Trump’s accomplishments in office. But his conduct since losing office has made him unelectable. He promised we’d win so much, we’d be sick of winning. Well, right now, conservatives are sick of losing. Democrats have won the past two elections running against Trump. If he runs again, they will win a third.”

Following Trump’s announcement, The New York Times published an editorial: “America Deserves Better Than Donald Trump.” The Times editorial board wrote, “His new campaign has begun with the same ugliness, lies and chaos as the last, but it poses even greater dangers to American democracy.”

They added that Trump is “unfit for office.” They also wrote, “The case against Mr. Trump is straightforward. He uses demagogy to stoke racism. He lies about matters great and small. As president, he frequently placed his personal interests above the national interest.”

It should be noted that Fox News carried most of Trump’s announcement live, although it did cut away briefly twice for analysis. CNN aired Trump’s speech for about 25 minutes and then cut away for fact checks and analysis. MSNBC did not air any of it, although it did report the news, show Trump on a split screen (without sound) and talk about it on Alex Wagner’s show while Trump was speaking. None of the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) carried Trump’s speech.

Oh, and one more tidbit. Check out this tweet from NPR announcing Trump’s news: “BREAKING: Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep himself in power, has filed to run for president again in 2024.”

If not Trump then who?

So if Trump is not the Republicans’ best choice, who is? OK, let’s stop right here and remind ourselves we are still two years away from the 2024 presidential election. A lot can happen between now and then. But at this moment, Trump’s biggest competition appears to be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Even Trump has been taking verbal jabs at DeSantis, knowing that DeSantis offers a serious challenge.

But in an opinion piece for Politico, Jonathan Bydlak — director of the Governance Program at the R Street Institute, a center-right think tank — wrote, “To be clear, DeSantis is ascending at this moment in part because he won big, and nothing cures political ills quite like victory. But Republicans should have learned their lesson by now about the perils of assuming one win will automatically lead to another — and the perils of creating a cult of personality.”

Bydlak added, “Furthermore, let’s not forget that DeSantis has embraced much of Trumpism as the rest of the nation objects to it. It’s far from clear that his flavor of Trumpism (just as sharp-edged and media-driven, if far more competent and perhaps less charismatic) can have the same impact in other parts of the country.”

DeSantis, by the way, pushed back ever so slightly against Trump without actually using Trump’s name. DeSantis was asked by reporters Tuesday about Trump preparing to make his announcement. DeSantis mentioned the midterms and said, “There were a lot, a lot of disappointments. That’s just the reality. It was a hugely underwhelming, disappointing performance, especially given that Biden’s policies are overwhelmingly unpopular.”

Pressed further, DeSantis bragged about being re-elected, saying, “At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”

Meanwhile, USA Today columnist Carli Pierson had an interesting read: “Trump is a losing ticket. Here’s how the GOP can move on, starting with Kevin McCarthy.”

Pence’s tour

(Photo courtesy of CNN)

Former Vice President Mike Pence is making the rounds, promoting his new book, “So Help Me God.” He sat down with ABC News’ David Muir for an interview that ran Monday night in primetime. He also had a one-on-one conversation with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Tonight, Pence will do a CNN town hall. Jake Tapper will moderate, and Pence will speak with Tapper and answer questions from a live studio audience. The town hall is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Eastern. Look for topics to include the events of Jan. 6, Trump, the midterms and who might run for president (including him?) in 2024.

Lake loses, and her critics can’t get enough

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, shown here at a watch party on election night last week. She lost her bid to Democrat Katie Hobbs. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

One of the most-watched races in these midterms was for governor in Arizona. Democrat Katie Hobbs defeated Republican Kari Lake, who had the support of Trump and had pushed baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged.

Despite being a former news anchor, Lake also went out of her way to poke the media. She recently snapped at a reporter, saying she was going to serve two terms as governor and added, “I’m going to be your worst frickin’ nightmare for eight years, and we will reform the media as well. We are going to make you guys into journalists again. So, get ready. It’s going to be a fun eight years.”

Well, that’s not happening, and many are pleased about that, including some Republicans. Last month, Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney urged Arizona voters to not vote for Lake. In turn, Lake sent Cheney a letter and tweeted “Thank you,” because Lake claimed Cheney’s “anti-endorsement” helped raise money for Lake’s campaign.

After Lake’s loss, Cheney retweeted Lake and said, “You’re welcome.”

Meanwhile, Meghan McCain, daughter of the late and longtime Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, also trolled Lake on Twitter. Lake often criticized McCain and said during her campaign that she drove a stake through the “McCain machine.”

In a series of tweets, Meghan McCain mocked Lake, including one that said, “Looks like she may have indeed needed those McCain Republicans she bragged no longer exist.”

Lake ran a campaign like Trump — attacking the media, questioning the 2020 election and even blasting a well-respected Republican such as McCain. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake wrote, “Much like Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, the conceit of Lake’s run was that a Republican could cater extensively to the extremes as long as they are personally compelling. And that might have been a fair bet in Arizona, where the state’s conservatives have long been further to the right than the state’s makeup would suggest. But like many in her party, Lake banked on a red wave that never arrived. That red wave could have propelled her to instant stardom on the national GOP stage. But instead it fizzled — in large part thanks to candidates like Lake.”

Meanwhile, NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard verbally annihilated Lake during his appearance on Tuesday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. Hillyard is from Arizona and covered this race extensively.

Hillyard said on air, “She predicated her campaign trying to sell the ‘big lie’ and trying to sell the conspiracy theories. When she wonders how she lost the race, look at it -— this is the third election cycle in a row in which Arizonans rejected Trumpism. In the final week of her campaign, who did she campaign alongside? She campaigned alongside Steve Bannon. She campaigned alongside one of the chief promoters of ‘Pizzagate.’ She campaigned alongside an individual who promoted the notion of the war on white people. She campaigned alongside state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who just earlier this year was here in Florida speaking at a white nationalist conference, somebody who frequently spews antisemitism.”

Hillyard continued, “This is an individual who just last week called her Democratic opponent a pervert. This is an individual who suggested there should be perp walks for elections officials, criminal charges against individuals who oversaw COVID response in Arizona. This is an individual who celebrated putting a dagger into the McCain ‘machine.’ She asserted that Cindy McCain wants to end America. She called Mike Lindell one of the great patriots of our time. She said Dinesh D’Souza is one of the great patriots in America. She suggested (Rep.) Paul Gosar was the kind of lawmaker our founding fathers envisioned. She called the media the right hand of the devil, the scourge of the earth. If that doesn’t sound like Donald Trump, I don’t know what does.”

There’s more, too. It was a fascinating two-minute rant.

Of course, you knew Lake wouldn’t go quietly. She tweeted late Monday night, “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”

Naturally, that tweet set her up for plenty of sarcastic replies that mostly went along the lines of this one that said, “And that’s why they voted against you.”

Fox News’ new addition

Tulsi Gabbard, the former representative from Hawaii who recently left the Democratic party, is joining Fox News as a paid contributor. The Los Angeles Times’ Stephen Battaglio broke the news. Gabbard is already appearing on the network. She filled in for Tucker Carlson as host on his show Monday night.

The Wrap’s Ross A. Lincoln notes, “Gabbard goes to Fox following the midterms when, among other things, she endorsed and campaigned for two failed Arizona Republicans: Senate candidate Blake Masters, who repeatedly insisted Donald Trump won the 2020 election, and gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake, who in addition to lying about Trump’s 2020 loss also advocated transphobia during her campaign and suggested she wouldn’t accept the results of the election if she lost. Gabbard also endorsed Washington Republican Joe Kent, an election denier who was revealed during the primary earlier this year to have longstanding ties to white supremacists and holocaust deniers. And she also endorsed failed Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, one of the first Republicans to push baseless conspiracy theories in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.”

Big news at The Boston Globe

Nancy Barnes has been named editor of The Boston Globe, becoming the first woman to lead the paper in its 150-year history. Barnes had been the chief news executive at NPR.

Barnes, who announced in September that she was leaving NPR, takes over for Brian McGrory, who stepped down after 10 years to become chair of the journalism department at Boston University. Barnes will start her new job at the Globe on Feb. 1 of next year.

Over her career, Barnes also oversaw the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News and the Beaumont Enterprise. She also is the former executive editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Here’s more from the Globe’s Larry Edelman.

Media tidbits

Hot type

Los Angeles Times columnist Anita Chabria with “The bravery of Jennifer Siebel Newsom facing Harvey Weinstein — and facing us all.”

For GQ, Gabriella Paiella with “Zoe Kravitz Always Lands on Her Feet.”

Here are the nominations for 2023 Grammy Awards, which will be Feb. 5 in Los Angeles and televised by CBS. Beyonce led the way with nine nominations. With that, New York Magazine’s Justin Curto with “The Snubs and Surprises of the 2023 Grammy Nominations.”

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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