Mulling his future a month before leaving office, then-President Donald Trump questioned whether he would be too old for a campaign in four years, according to a new book by a former White House staffer — as President Biden hints that he too could sit out 2024.
Ex-Trump spokesman Brian Morgenstern writes in “Vignettes & Vino” — out Oct. 25 — that Trump told a group of historians in the Cabinet Room on Dec. 18, 2020, that he might not have enough stamina to win back the White House.
Members of the 1776 Commission, which Trump created to promote “patriotic education” and a positive view of US history, had offered supportive remarks to Trump during a roughly hour-long meeting.
“A member of the Commission said that perhaps it was a blessing that Trump had not come out on top in this contest — that if he had won, he would face the difficulties of every second-term president, which included fatigue,” according to the book.
“Another member of the commission said that if President Trump were to come back to run in the next election, he could win in a landslide and cement his legacy.”
Trump wasn’t so sure, according to the book.
“In response, Trump pointed at me and said, ‘I’m not [Brian’s] age.’ He went on to say that perhaps he would not have the same energy level that he had when he started running in 2015,” according to Morgenstern’s account.
Trump would be 78 on Election Day 2024 and 82 if he completed a second non-consecutive term.
Morgenstern’s account is consistent with a previously reported comment that Trump made to David McIntosh, a co-founder of the Federalist Society, in the waning days of his presidency.
“Mr. President, if it doesn’t work out, will you run again?” McIntosh asked aboard Air Force One on Jan. 4, 2021, Axios reported. “Yeah, I’m thinking about that,” Trump said. “But you know, I’m going to be four years older.”
At the time, Trump was seeking to overturn Biden’s narrow victories in a handful of swing states, culminating in the Capitol riot in which a mob of his supporters smashed into the halls of Congress to halt certification of the 2020 election, sending legislators fleeing.
Trump even told the Washington Post in an April interview that his health potentially could derail another bid for the White House — despite the broad expectation he will seek a rematch against Biden.
“You always have to talk about health. You look like you’re in good health, but tomorrow, you get a letter from a doctor saying come see me again. That’s not good when they use the word ‘again,”’ Trump told the paper. “I don’t want to comment on running, but I think a lot of people are going to be very happy [with] my decision because it’s a little boring now.”
But Morgenstern, whose book is coauthored by his wife and fellow Trump White House alum Teresa Morgenstern, wrote that he doesn’t see Trump’s age preventing him from running again — despite what he said in 2020.
“Now, having observed him on the campaign trail and his continued involvement in politics at every level, I believe it seems more likely than not that Trump intends to run again and that he can win,” Morgenstern writes in the forthcoming book, which pairs food recipes with Trump White House recollections.
The chapter containing the anecdote about 2024 is paired with recipes for “Mojo Steak” and a coconut mojito.
Current Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich told The Post, “there is no one more qualified or prepared for the job of saving America than President Donald J. Trump — and any suggestion otherwise is just wishful thinking by losers and haters who know they can’t stand toe-to-toe against the most powerful force in American politics.”
Biden, 79, would be 81 on Election Day 2024 and 86 upon completing a second term — and hedged last week when asked about whether he would seek re-election in two years, telling CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that he hasn’t made a “firm decision.”
“Look, my intention, as I said to begin with, is that I would run again. But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen,” Biden said.
Trump, who has not officially said he would mount a 2024 bid, has seen his favorability ratings fall to the lowest levels since he left the White House. An NBC News poll on Sunday found that 34% of registered voters have a positive view of the former president, compared to 54% who have an unfavorable view, giving him a -20 net negative rating.
That net score is down slightly from last month when it was 54% negative and 36% positive, and May, when it was 36% positive and 51% negative.
Still, Trump would beat Biden in a rematch — 44.5% to 43.8% — according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent national polls.