“It’s been an amazing four years,” Trump told the room, filled with many people not wearing masks despite public health officials’ guidance amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years.”
“Honestly, this is a disgrace,” Trump told the room.
The President addressed guests from the White House’s grand staircase. Though several people were wearing masks, many were not and some were audibly coughing.
Trump lost his bid for a second term last month, but has yet to concede to President-elect Joe Biden — even though his administration has allowed the official presidential transition to begin.
A Trump campaign adviser told CNN there have been discussions about a potential event on Trump’s future plans. That event could be scheduled around Inauguration Day, the adviser said.
Trump is expected to hint at a run for 2024, leaving the door open to a comeback campaign.
It’s been noted inside Trump’s circle of advisers that he maintains an incredible grip on the Republican Party as GOP lawmakers have been hesitant to recognize Biden as the President-elect. “Never seen anything like it,” the adviser told CNN.
The possibility that Trump might run again could create an uncomfortable scenario for those who currently surround him and politically support him — given that the vice president, secretary of state, former UN ambassador and a slew of others are all said to be weighing their own presidential runs.
Asked whether the President realizes that he’s been defeated, a close adviser who has been in contact with Trump about his legal strategy said Monday: “Yes, he does.” That adviser also said Trump will continue to pursue legal challenges until they are exhausted, but they pointed to the election certification Monday in Wisconsin and said, “The writing is on the wall.”
Still, one person familiar with the situation said they believe Trump’s advisers will strongly encourage him to attend the January 20 inauguration, even if he doesn’t concede the election, because it would better preserve his potential influence going forward — including if he decides to run again in 2024 — if he doesn’t appear like a sore loser.
Trump told reporters last week that he’d already decided what he was doing on Inauguration Day. “I’ll be honest, I know the answer, but I just don’t want to say it yet,” he said. But aides viewed that as more of a way to put off the question, and did not take it to mean a decision had been made.
CNN’s Devan Cole, Kevin Liptak and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.