Donald Trump was doggedly cagey on all questions pertaining to his political future as he appeared on the cable television network Newsmax on Wednesday evening.
Speaking publicly again after the Senate failed to convict him during his second impeachment trial, he nevertheless told host Greg Kelly that he was buoyed by strong polling figures of late, while emphasising it was too soon to announce whether he’ll run for president again in 2024.
“As far as 24, too early to say, but I see a lot of great polls out there, that’s for sure,” said Trump.
The interview was intended to eulogise the late conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose death from lung cancer was announced earlier that day, yet was used by the ex-president as an opportunity to weigh in on several issues, including his immediate political plans.
Trump claimed that he wanted to "be somewhat quiet" after exiting the White House, but insisted his poll numbers have remained strong after he was impeached.
According to a new Gallup poll, among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, just 10 per cent favoured convicting Trump to bar him from ever holding public office again, while 88 percent oppose the former president’s conviction.
“Well we have tremendous support, I won’t say yet, but we have tremendous support. I am looking at poll numbers that are through the roof. Only I could get impeached and my numbers go up. The numbers are very good and very high, they are higher than before the election,” said the former president.
As Donald Trump left Washington, D.C. on the morning of President Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States on 20 January, he vowed to his supporters that “we will be back in some form.”
Speculation has been rife regarding Trump’s political ambitions, however strong support among Republicans shows he remains the GOP voters’ top choice for a 2024 nominee.
According to the Politico-Morning Consult poll released on 16 February, 59 percent of GOP voters said Trump should play a “major role” in the Republican Party in the future, with 54 percent of respondents saying they would back the former president in a hypothetical 2024 Republican presidential primary. Only 17 percent believed that the former president should play no role at all in the Republican Party.
The poll also showed that the share of Republicans who said Trump is very or somewhat responsible for the Capitol riots on 6-7 January had dropped 14 points, to 27 per cent.
Additionally, 51 percent of voters said they disapproved of the Senate’s acquittal of Trump, with 79 percent of Republican voters approving the Senate’s acquittal of the ex-POTUS.
During the interview, the former president also availed himself of the opportunity to reiterate his claims that last year’s election had been “stolen” from him, and criticised his successful rival in the 2020 bid for the White House – Joe Biden - over his recent statements regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
The latter was an apparent reference to Biden’s claims that they didn’t have jabs when the Democrat entered office. Trump insisted Biden was “either not telling the truth, or he’s mentally gone”, adding that his administration was actually providing vaccines and that Biden had taken his first shot "long before" Inauguration Day.
The former president also vented his frustration over being kicked off the Twitter social media platform in the wake of the 6 January Capitol riots.
“Twitter is not the same, I understand it has become very boring and millions of people are leaving it, it is not the same and I understand that. We are negotiating with other people and there is also the option of building your own site,” said Trump, who is yet to find a new platform for his messaging.