Former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway batted down the notion that Donald Trump will have any trouble securing the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 and said potential primary challengers like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should delay a White House bid.
“If I’m Ron DeSantis, sure, I can think about running,” Mrs. Conway told Washington reporters at a breakfast meeting Thursday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “But why not go be the best two-term governor of the third-largest state in modern history and then walk into the presidency in 2028?”
The ex-adviser to Mr. Trump rejected the suggestion by some in the party that other candidates could succeed in offering a Trump agenda without the controversies associated with him.
Mr. DeSantis’ base largely overlaps with Mr. Trump’s, and the two men’s relationship has grown tense as the Florida governor weighs a potential presidential run.
“The Trump agenda — five of the  letters in ‘Trump agenda’ is ‘Trump.’ So you could try, but I think many people will say, ‘Why would I take a chance on an heir to the Trump agenda when I have the real thing?’” Mrs. Conway said. “I’m thinking about many people, and if I’m Ron DeSantis, I can have a monster reelection.”
A larger threat to Mr. Trump becoming president again, she suggested, would be a third-party bid by a “never-Trumper” who could siphon Republican votes in the general election and act as a “spoiler” candidate.
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“That’s the more likely scenario to me than somebody denying him the nomination,” Mrs. Conway said.
Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the fiercest Trump critics and vice chair of the Jan. 6 Committee, is considering a run of her own. The Wyoming Republican lost her primary to a Trump-backed opponent. She told NBC News last month that if Republicans nominate Mr. Trump, the GOP “will splinter and there will be a new conservative party that rises.”
Mrs. Conway declined to go further than to say Mr. Trump, whom she continues to advise, will officially announce his candidacy “soon.” She said it’s been difficult to convince him to postpone until after the Nov. 8 midterms.
“Donald Trump, in some ways, never stopped campaigning from early 2015,” Mrs. Conway said. “I think you should maybe keep your cellphone on.”