Donald Trump is said to be considering running for the White House again in 2024, with a campaign launch on the day Joe Biden in sworn in as the 46th US president.
NBC claims that people familiar with the discussions say there is “preliminary planning” underway for a 20 January 2021 event and President Trump would miss the swearing in of his successor.
He is also said to have no plans to invite Joe Biden to the White House beforehand or even call him. For its part the Biden transition team says the lack of contact won’t affect their plans.
NBC reports that Mr Trump has told advisers he wants to announce a 2024 campaign shortly after the Electoral College meets on 14 December.
He has already begun fundraising for future political activity, with a Political Action Committee (PAC) dubbed Save America launched last month.
Leadership PACs can accept donations of up to $5,000 (£3,725) from individual donors each year. They can also accept money from other political action committees.
Although emails to potential contributors to the Trump PAC suggest donations are for an “election defence fund”, PAC rules state that money raised can be used to fund his own political activity by underwriting polling, travel, staff and other expenses.
The Trump team has been deciding whether to extend the lease on his 2020 campaign headquarters in Virginia or move the small team that’s left elsewhere, one person familiar with the discussions said.
Aides say Mr Trump has discussed starting a television channel or social media company to keep himself in the spotlight ahead of a potential 2024 White House bid.
It would be a rare, although not unprecedented, breach of norms for a sitting president not to attend the swearing-in of his successor.
John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson all skipped the event while Richard Nixon departed the White House after his resignation and did not attend Gerald Ford’s swearing-in.
Mr Trump’s flailing effort to reverse his defeat in the November election received a blow on Tuesday when US Attorney General William Barr said federal prosecutors have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Mr Barr told the Associated Press.
Mr Barr’s stance is notable because he has been seen as one of Donald Trump‘s most ardent allies.
The Trump campaign responded by saying the Justice Department did not investigate thoroughly enough.