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Trump eyes longtime Virginia operative for senior 2024 campaign role

Chris LaCivita is widely known for running the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth campaign against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry

Former president Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Legacy Sports Park on Oct. 9 in Mesa, Ariz. (Joshua Lott/The Washington Post)
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Former president Donald Trump and his team are eyeing a longtime Virginia operative to take on a senior role in his next presidential campaign, which could be announced shortly after the midterms, according to four people familiar with the matter.

No decisions have been made on the exact role that Chris LaCivita would take in Trump’s campaign, though discussions have included a possible role as campaign manager or senior adviser. LaCivita is a longtime Republican political consultant who helped lead the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry in 2004 and who is now directing a super PAC tied to Trump.

“Thank you for the opportunity but I don’t comment on rumors!!” LaCivita wrote in a text message to The Washington Post.

A Trump spokesman did not directly address LaCivita when asked for comment.

“As President Trump continues to fuel the Republican Party’s march towards a historic Midterm Election, aiming to propel more than 300 endorsed-candidates into office and providing the energy that will turn out a record number of voters, America is rightfully hungry and excited to know what’s next,” spokesman Taylor Budowich said in a statement. “President Trump is focused on what’s important: Making America Great Again.”

The four people familiar with the matter spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal deliberations.

LaCivita is working as a consultant for both the reelection campaign of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and as the senior strategist for Make America Great Again Inc., the latest incarnation of an outside group backed by Trump that can raise unlimited amounts of money.

A partner at the Republican firm FP1, LaCivita has been doing the work for MAGA Inc. though his personal consulting company. MAGA Inc., which has not yet disclosed its donors, has spent about $8.5 million on ads this month to support Republican Senate candidates in Ohio, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia, according to federal records.

Should he be tapped, LaCivita would give some entree into the traditional Republican world for Trump, who has seen his orbit shrink in recent months amid a range of federal investigations.

During the 2020 campaign, LaCivita helmed Preserve America PAC, a group that was almost entirely funded by entities connected to Las Vegas casino magnet Sheldon Adelson and which spent about $100 million over the final months of the campaign to help elect Trump.

LaCivita started working in politics after being wounded as a Marine in an artillery unit during the 1990 Gulf War. He has previously worked for former senators George Allen of Virginia and Bob Corker of Tennessee, as well as on the Senate campaign of the former administrator for the Trump Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon. He has also worked in senior roles for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and as a consultant for the Congressional Leadership Fund, the outside group that supports Republican House candidates.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, LaCivita worked as a senior adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). After Paul suspended his campaign, LaCivita went to work for the Republican National Committee, where he helped organize the pushback against an attempt on the floor of the Republican convention to deny Trump the nomination.

Susie Wiles, one of Trump’s top operatives, is also reaching out to other Republicans in a bid to hire a team for Trump, who is telling allies he plans to run for president again. Many of his longtime advisers do not want a role in the 2024 bid after a slate of federal investigations have ensnared many of them — and they fear a bruising battle he could lose.

So far, Trump’s team has been able to convince him not to announce a bid before the midterm elections, where other Republicans fear he could damage their campaigns.

Some Trump allies increasingly say he is losing altitude amid a range of federal investigations, and he has slipped considerably among Republican voters in polls conducted by people close to him. Trump allies note he leads in most GOP primary polls by a wide margin. His team also increasingly sees a large 2024 field, which they hope to splinter and use for his benefit, according to four people close to him.

But some in his orbit fear he will be charged as part of an FBI investigation over classified documents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after he left office, according to people familiar with the matter. Given the political and legal headaches from the investigations into him, some of his allies suspect he may change his mind about running.

In both of his previous presidential campaigns, Trump replaced his initial campaign manager in the summer before the general election. His son-in-law Jared Kushner, who played the role of a senior adviser in both campaigns, has separated himself from Trump’s political operation since the 2020 election defeat. Many of his other advisers, lawyers and consultants say they talk to him less often than they once did.

“For me right now, I’m enjoying my life in the private sector and loving the time with my kids,” Kushner said in an August interview with Fox News.