The range of prospects suggests an openness within the GOP to move past Trump and his divisive politics, even as many Republican voters suggest they would like to see him run a third time.
More than two years before the next presidential election, a shadow primary is already beginning to take shape among at least three fierce Republican critics of former President Donald Trump to determine who is best positioned to occupy the anti-Trump lane in 2024.
Their apparent willingness to run — even if Trump does, as is widely expected — represents a shift from previous years when “Never Trump” operatives failed to recruit any GOP officeholders to challenge the incumbent president. But with the 2024 contest almost in view, the question is no longer whether one of Trump’s prominent Republican critics will run, but how many will mount a campaign and how soon they will announce.
Several former Trump loyalists who have emerged as on-again, off-again Trump critics are also eyeing the GOP’s next presidential nomination. Among them: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. But most in this group have offered Trump far more praise than criticism, leaving the likes of Cheney, Hogan and Kinzinger as the only consistent Trump antagonists in the 2024 conversation.
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