December 6, 2023

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Ex-WH Chief of Staff Says Trump Won’t Run in 2024 to Avoid Being ‘Loser’

  • Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is skeptical that Donald Trump will run in 2024.
  • But the former president continues to hint at a possible second run for the White House.
  • “He will not run,” Kelly told The Atlantic. “And the reason is he simply cannot be seen as a loser.”

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As former President Donald Trump continues to tease a campaign to return to the White House, some of his former allies are skeptical that he will enter the presidential race come 2024.

John Kelly, Trump’s longest-serving White House chief of staff, expressed doubts that the former president will make a run for the executive seat again in an interview with The Atlantic published Tuesday.

Kelly told The Atlantic that he suspects Trump will continue to imply a possible run leading up to campaigning season, but in the end, will fail to follow through.

“Trump won’t run,” Kelly told the publication. “He’ll continue talking about it; he may even declare, but he will not run. And the reason is he simply cannot be seen as a loser.”

A representative for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

After leaving his position at the White House in 2019, Kelly rarely criticized the former president in the remainder of Trump’s time in office. But the retired Marine Corps general has since expressed criticism of Trump following the January 6 Capitol attack.

Kelly told ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl that if Trump “was a real man, he would go down to the Capitol and tell them to stop,” referring to the mob of rioters who breached the Capitol nearly one year ago. His comments were included in Karl’s book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” which was released earlier this month and details the final tumultuous year of Trump’s presidency. 

Trump made headlines last weekend when he once again hinted at a 2024 run.

“I think if I run, I’ll get it,” he said in a Fox Business interview. “Look, I have a 94, 95% even, in the CPAC, I had a 98% approval rating. So if I decide to run, I’ll get it very easily.”

“Most people have said if I run, they won’t run against me, so I think that’s good,” he added.

Trump’s 2020 loss to President Joe Biden by nearly 7 million votes prompted the former president to cast doubt on his defeat by making several legal attempts to overturn the loss, all of which have failed.

Former associates of Trump seem to believe that that loss — and the possibility of another — could keep Trump from trying again.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen have made similar predictions to Kelly, highlighting the former president’s aversion to defeat following the 2020 election. 

“I think he knows deep inside, although he will never admit it, he did lose in 2020 and very much fears losing in 2024 because if he hates anything in the world, he hates being called a loser,” Bolton said last month.