The long holiday weekend would have been a terrible time for a presidential candidate to officially announce their intention to run in 2020. And so none did. But many of the likely contenders spoke to the media (it’s what you do if you’re planning to run for president!) about why they’d be a great candidate before insisting that they’re not yet a candidate.
It’s no mystery why politicians do this. As NBC News pointed out over the weekend, the moment a potential candidate becomes a declared candidate, things gets much more complicated. Plus, the desire to show strength on an initial finance report leads some to “launch their campaign close to the start of a quarter to give themselves as much time as possible to raise an impressive number,” Alex Seitz-Wald writes.
Here’s how some of the likely 2020 candidates played coy this weekend:
In an interview with NJ Advance Media, the New Jersey Senator wouldn’t even admit that he’s currently considering running for president. But he did say that he “will consider” it. “That’s something that I will do. There’s people in New Jersey who are talking to me about it, across the country that are talking to me about it, so I will consider that,” he said.
In an interview with New York published Sunday night, Sanders claimed he’d work his “ass off” for any Democrat who proved that they could do better than he could in 2020. But “if it turns out that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump, then I will probably run,” he added.
The Ohio Senator, whose 2020 prospects have been buoyed by a strong showing in a Trump state earlier this month, was asked about his plans for the presidency on This Week. He said that since the midterms he’s been “overwhelmed by the number of people from around the country that have said we should think about doing this.”
“We’re seriously thinking about it,” said Brown, who might be the only Democrat capable of beating Trump in Ohio. “We’re seriously talking about it with family, with friends and with political allies who have come to me about this.”
Also on This Week, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said she’s “still thinking about” running for president. She also explained why she’d be a great candidate if she decided to.
“People are talking to me about this, I think in part because I’ve worked really hard to go not just where it’s comfortable, but where it’s uncomfortable, and did well in a number of those places where Donald Trump won,” she said. “I’m also someone, for those that are exhausted with politics, that likes to get stuff done.”
The California billionaire, who’s spent gobs of money promoting the idea of impeaching Trump, was on Meet the Press Sunday, where Chuck Todd asked him about his own White House ambitions. “I haven’t decided to run for president,” he said.
“What I’m doing right now is putting out an agenda, a framework for a social contract for the 21st century which I call the five rights, which are the rights that Americans need to be free to pursue their own life and their own destiny.”
The former mayor of New Orleans was the subject of a piece by Times columnist Charles Blow this weekend. It began like this:
’I am not already running for president.’ He continues, ‘I haven’t done anything that a person who was running for president would do.’
Except people who run for president do sit down with columnists for the Times, so …
The only Republican on this list, Kasich was also a guest on This Week, where George Stephanopoulos also got him talking about 2020. The outgoing Ohio Governor said he’s “very seriously” thinking about taking on Trump in two years. “We need different leadership, there isn’t a question about it,” he said.