Trump, Haley, Scott, Pence move

Former President Donald Trump could soon have company in the election campaign.

A spate of recent moves by Trump’s key potential Republican rivals signals that at least one candidate, and possibly more, are poised to join him in the 2024 presidential race as soon as this month.

The first to make the leap could be one of Trump’s former top officials: Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, on Wednesday morning teased a “special announcement” scheduled for Feb. 15 in South Carolina, where she previously served, was planned as governor.

Several outlets are reporting that this announcement in Charleston will be their official campaign launch.

“It’s definitely going to be a great day in South Carolina!” Haley tweeted about the event alongside an RSVP link.

Later Wednesday, Senator Tim Scott, RS.C., announced through his office that he would soon deliver remarks in South Carolina and Iowa, both key states in the presidential primary cycle.

Scott’s first event, billed as commemorating Black History Month, is scheduled to take place in Charleston on February 16 — the day after Haley’s announcement. His second stop on “The Importance of Faith in America” ​​is scheduled for February 22 in Iowa, which Republicans want to keep as the first state on their calender for the primary.

Both Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, and Haley, who has built some bipartisan credibility as governor and at the United Nations, have long been suspected of preparing for a presidential nomination. Haley appeared to be further along than many of her potential GOP rivals in recent weeks; CNBC reported last week that it had directed some of its new employees to be in Charleston by Wednesday.

They’re just two potential candidates on a long list of Republicans expected to throw their hats in the ring for 2024. The others include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has remained silent about his presidential plans despite being viewed as Trump’s biggest competitor, along with Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a host of others.

Pence, Haley, Scott and other potential GOP nominees for 2024 will also be speaking at a conference in Austin, Texas on Feb. 24, the Texas Tribune reported earlier Wednesday.

But so far it’s been a one-man race — and a slow one at that, given that Trump has campaigned virtually non-existent in the two-and-a-half months since he announced his last White House bid.

In a sign that the race is shifting into second gear, the former president finally hit the road with two stops in South Carolina and New Hampshire over the weekend.

“I’m more angry and committed now than I’ve ever been,” Trump said at a GOP leaders meeting in Salem, New Hampshire. Polls show the twice-impeachable former president, who lost to President Joe Biden in 2020 and is currently embroiled in numerous investigations and trials, remains a dominant, albeit weakened, figure in the Republican Party.

With his rivals more likely than ever to challenge his spot at the top of the GOP, Trump has unleashed some newer, harder hits on social media.

Trump said over the weekend he called Haley and encouraged her to run. But in a post on his Twitter-like site Truth Social on Wednesday afternoon, he appeared to mock Haley and shared a video of Haley saying in 2021 that she would support Trump if he ran for president again.

“Nikki needs to follow her heart, not her honor,” Trump wrote in the post. “You should definitely walk!”

In a previous post, Trump attacked DeSantis as a “RINO GLOBALIST” and criticized him for actions he took during the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis has been praised by conservatives for pushing back efforts to expand or strengthen certain social distancing measures during earlier stages of the pandemic.

“Loved the vaccines and wasted a lot of money on ‘testing,'” Trump wrote. “How quickly people forget!”