A report emerged on Wednesday that President Trump may not consider reelection in 2020. Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both floated this idea in the media this week, suggesting that Republican circles are planning for life after Trump sooner than expected. He has feuded repeatedly with the Republican establishment this year, and so it would not be a total surprise for a group of experienced lawmakers to back a different candidate in 2020.
“I think no one can stop primaries from happening and there could well be a primary that happens,” Paul said about a potential Republican primary in 2020, which would allow challengers from within the party. “Before you even get to that, you need to know, is President Trump running for re-election? I think you won’t know that until you get into sort of – second, third year of his presidency,” he continued.
Paul stopped short of saying he would back a different candidate, but did say that he would prefer someone who will end the war in Afghanistan. “So I see the glass as half full. Doesn’t mean I agree with him on everything,” he said. “You know, there would be people that – if we could end the Afghan war, that’s who I would support.”
In some ways, it’s not surprising that Rand Paul would raise this question. He and Trump have feuded repeatedly so far this year. However, his sentiment was echoed by another Republican with far closer ties to the president – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie was one of the first establishment politicians to back Trump, and even led his transition team before pulling himself out of consideration for a White House position because of his own legal troubles.
“If he runs again I would support him, yes, but I’m not so sure what will happen,” Christie said.
“Four years is a long time, and especially for someone who has not spent a lifetime in politics, so I think those years affect him differently. So I’m sure the president will make whatever decision is best for him and his family and the country,” he continued about 2020.