Former President Donald Trump appeared to drop a major clue about his presidential campaign plans for 2024 Saturday when he skipped out on ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and instead popped in on Manhattan police officers and firefighters.
Asked by one of the officers at the 17th Precinct near Trump Tower if he was going to run again, the former president teased: “Oh, that’s a tough question.”
Then he added: “Actually, it’s an easy question. I know what I’m going to do, but we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet. ... But I think you’re going to be very happy.”
Trump said he was holding off on an announcement because of “campaign finance laws, which, frankly are ridiculous.”
The longer Trump delays declaring that he’s a candidate, the longer he can continue to fundraise while dodging contribution reporting requirements.
Trump has begun to look more and more like he may run. Last week he had a conference call with several members of his newly formed Faith Advisory Board of religious leaders, and ordered them to find more Catholic and Jewish votes for him.
He also has a political rally planned for Georgia late this month, and one in Iowa next month.
“Get ready for the longest presidential campaign in history,” quipped The Washington Post.
The glad-handing meeting at the precinct also looked like a campaign stop, as Trump hailed his “hero” police officers, even after defending Jan. 6 insurrectionists who attacked police. “We love the blue,” he claimed.
Twitter critics, meanwhile, came down hard on Trump for blowing off the nation’s solemn tributes to 9/11 victims.
President Joe Biden and former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attended the somber name-reading ceremony of victims in Manhattan. First lady Jill Biden and former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama were also on the scene.
Bush, who was president when the attack occurred, spoke from the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, during a struggle between terrorists and passengers.
Bush attacked both foreign and domestic terrorists in his speech. “We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within,” he said.
Bush, who talked of the need for unity in Shanksville, also attended a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
A spokesperson for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum confirmed to The New York Times that Trump was invited to the ceremony at Ground Zero. But he opted to skip it, according to his spokesperson Liz Harrington.
He and his son Donald Trump Jr. instead were scheduled to provide commentary Saturday for a pay-per-view heavyweight fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. The former president reportedly boasted to friends he was going to make an “obscene” amount of money for his remarks.
Earlier he released a video statement bashing Biden for his handling of the troop pullout in Afghanistan.