Former U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend hinted at a possible 2024 White House run. But with four years until the elections, it remains unclear whether that will occur.
In his first major speech since he left the White House in January, Trump on Sunday suggested he may run again in 2024, although he did not say so explicitly.
"Who knows?" Trump said at the weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the U.S. state of Florida. "I may even decide to beat them for a third time," an assertion doubling down on the false claim that had it not been for the widespread voter fraud, he should have won the 2020 election. The only election Trump won was the one in 2016.
Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua that "he's certainly talking like he will (run) and the CPAC straw poll suggests he still has a constituency."
"But there is a long time between now and the start of the 2024 nomination race, and he's facing multiple investigations and lawsuits. If those all fizzle out, then maybe he will run," Galdieri said.
"If even one of those ends in serious consequences -- a felony conviction, a plea bargain, an admission of guilt -- I think that hurts him even more. I'm inclined to be skeptical either way," Galdieri said.
Some experts said there are a few conditions that, if met, could lead to another Trump run.
Those include assuming that voters are not concerned about his age, the many lawsuits he is facing do not derail him, and the Congress does not pass a measure restricting him from office.
Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the center for international and security studies at the University of Maryland, said, "With these three conditions met, would Trump want to run for president? Yes."
Still, others believed that Trump's legal troubles will prevent him from running again.
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua he would be "surprised if he (Trump) ran in 2024 because he faces major business and legal problems going forward.
The bombastic billionaire is under investigation for tax and bank fraud and has just turned over millions of tax and financial documents to New York prosecutors, West noted.
"If he gets indicted, it will be hard for him to seek future office," West said.
Despite two impeachments and a public that is deeply divided over the former president, Trump remains a major force in the GOP, although the party is somewhat fractured at the moment.
Ramsay said Trump is definitely the head of a major party, but contended that there are really two Republican parties now -- Trump's own America-first Republican party, and a conservative fragment of non-Trump Republicans.
The annual CPAC straw poll showed that 95 percent of those attending the conference said Republicans should continue along Trump's policy lines, and 68 percent of conference goers said Trump should run in 2024.
At the same time, things can change dramatically from now until 2024. Four years ago, Senator Ted Cruz won the straw poll, but was later beaten by Trump.
In Sunday's speech, Trump blasted a laundry list of opponents, from establishment Republicans to big tech, which he said should be sanctioned for stifling "conservative voices."
Trump also lambasted U.S. President Joe Biden for everything from immigration to his handling of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
"None of us even imagined just how bad they would be and how far left they would go," the former president said from the stage.
"In just one short month, we have gone from 'America First' to 'America Last,'" he said.
Upon assuming office, the Biden administration complained about having to start from scratch with regard to vaccine development.
Trump is the only president ever to be impeached twice, but experts said this may not be an issue.
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aims to investigate the causes of the Jan. 6 Capitol Building riot -- the grounds for Trump's second impeachment -- some experts doubt this will prevent Trump from running in 2024.