Republicans plan to run for president without waiting for Trump

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

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 don’t think so.”

“President Trump was perfect, perfect for 2016. We needed that kind of disruption,” Pompeo said. “If I come to the conclusion that I’m the right person to wear this coat, I’ll go try and make that point to the American people starting with the great state of Iowa.”

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

POTENTIAL GOP 2024 PRESIDENTIAL FIELD DESCRIBED AS ‘AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES’

This annual gathering of religious conservatives was designed to spur Republicans ahead of this year’s midterm elections. Asked about 2024, Pompeo and Haley said they are focused on helping Republicans win congressional and gubernatorial races across the country and will formally decide their own political futures after the midterms.

“I don’t think I have to make that decision until next year’s premiere,” Haley told Fox News. “I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. If there’s a spot for me, I’ll put in 1000% and we’ll finish it.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures toward a reporter while speaking about the vote count in the U.S. election during a media briefing, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at the Department of State in Washington.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures toward a reporter while speaking about the vote count in the U.S. election during a media briefing, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at the Department of State in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, pool)
((AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool))

“We will address this issue even at the end of this year, beginning of next year,” Pompeo said. “We will pray, we will work.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, another expected 2024 nominee, was notably absent from this year’s conference. A source close to Pence said he was attending 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 has always been very close to the organization.

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Pence heard boos at the conference last year after his split with Trump. Reed argues that there were a handful of vocal jeers then and most of those booing weren’t coalition members, largely those who “just signed up and showed up and protested him. “.

“He’s a dear friend of the Faith and Freedom Coalition,” Reed said of Pence. “He has spoken at several Faith and Liberty events in every state across the country. He is always welcome here. He was invited this year. He will be invited again next year and he will be invited again every year.”

STANFORD, Calif. - FEB.  17: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University's Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Stanford, Calif.  Stanford College Republicans hosted the former vice president at an event titled "How to save America from the woke left." (Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

STANFORD, Calif. – FEB. 17: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford College Republicans hosted the former vice president at 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 suitors, the former president hovers over the field.

TRUMP NOT ON BALLOT, BUT PLAYING KEY ROLE IN NEVADA, SOUTH CAROLINA’S HIGH-PROFILE PRIMARY

“Would anyone like me to run for president?” Trump asked the crowd during his opening address on Friday. This drew the loudest applause from his speech. Trump has yet to officially announce another presidential run.

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 speech criticizing Pence for refusing to try to annul the 2020 election and repeating unsubstantiated allegations 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 the surges on the southwest border that have lowered the Democrats’ approval ratings.

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When asked if Trump should stop talking about 2020, Haley replied that “it’s up to him” and that Trump “is feeling heartburn about it. But we really have to focus on the makes the American people suffer, their wallets suffer.”

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