Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin finally appeared to offer some clarity about his White House aspirations during a Milken Institute event Monday, where he responded “no” when asked if he’d be “getting out on the presidential campaign trail later this year.”
Asked a follow up question (“You’re not running?”) moments later, Youngkin noted, “I haven’t written a book, and I’m not in Iowa. I’m spending time representing Virginia this year.”
End of story? Not so fast.
Hours later, NBC News’ Gary Grumbach and Zoë Richards reported that multiple Youngkin aides sought to tamp down the idea the governor was swearing off a bid, focusing on the part of the question centered on “this year” and emphasizing the governor’s commitment to helping Republicans in this year’s Virginia state elections.
As fast as the speculation appeared to be put to rest, it appears to be back on again.
That said, there’s not much time between Election Day 2023 and the Iowa caucuses, even if Youngkin (or his aides) want to keep the presidential door open.
In other campaign news …
Dismissed: A Florida ethics panel dismissed a complaint from a pro-Trump super PAC that alleged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis broke state ethics laws in accepting gifts from his own political committee and outside groups, per NBC News’ Matt Dixon.
More Disney vs. DeSantis: The feud between DeSantis and Disney escalated Monday with the local board that oversees Walt Disney World voting to sue Disney shortly after the company sued the board and DeSantis, Dixon reports.
DeSantis on the death penalty: DeSantis signed another bill expanding the death penalty, approving a measure allowing the death penalty to be imposed on people convicted of “sexual battery against children younger than 12,” per Axios.
Trump town hall: Former President Donald Trump will participate in a CNN town hall in New Hampshire next Wednesday, which NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard notes will be among his first high-profile interviews with a non-right leaning outlet since the 2020 election.
Cross examination: Trump’s defense attorneys questioned writer E. Jean Carroll on the stand on Monday in the trial litigating Carroll’s allegations that Trump raped her in the 1990s. They asked about her old social media posts where she claimed to be a “massive fan” of Trump’s show, “The Apprentice.”
Trump talk: In a separate case where Trump faces charges in alleged hush-money scheme, Trump’s attorneys argued that the former president shouldn’t be barred from discussing evidence and witnesses in that case, suggesting it “could unfairly affect his presidential campaign,” NBC News’ Adam Reiss and Dareh Gregorian write.
Not Cruz-ing to re-election: Texas Democratic Rep. Colin Allred is planning to run against GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and could announce a campaign as soon as this week, Politico reports.
Bluegrass battle: The GOP candidates for governor met for a debate Monday night, nearly two weeks before the primary. Meanwhile, state attorney General Daniel Cameron doubled down on his endorsement from Trump. And the New York Times delves into the race, writing that in some ways the race mirrors some of the early GOP presidential primary.
Crickets: House Republicans in competitive districts and those known for working across the aisle tell CNN they haven’t seen much outreach from the White House.
Raising the (cheese)steaks: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and other high-profile progressives have taken sides in Phildalphia’s mayoral race ahead of the May 16 election, backing former city council member Helen Gym, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.