There have been 45 men who served as president of the United States. And yet, Joe Biden is the 46th president.
Donald Trump was the 45th president. If he makes a comeback and returns to the White House in 2025, he also will be the 47th.
How does that work?
Historians count administrations, not people. That is why Grover Cleveland, who served as president from 1885-89 and again from 1893-97, is both the 22nd and 24th president.
Old Grover stands alone as a president with separate terms — but that could change if Trump is able to return to office. In the distant past, a candidate could lose an election and remain a viable choice in future races, but the last time a defeated candidate was renominated by a major political party was Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, who was the Democratic choice in 1952 and 1956, losing to Republican Dwight Eisenhower both times.
Trump is seeking to be the GOP nominee for the third straight election. His performance at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines last Saturday proved he still holds a firm grip on the GOP.
Gov. Kim Reynolds, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, U.S. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson and other major Republican officials attended the rally to show their support for the man who lost the 2020 election by 7 million votes.
Of course, he insists that didn’t happen. Trump continues to claim, despite a complete lack of evidence, that he won in November. That fake news was especially dangerous on Jan. 6, when hordes of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol with the intent of forcing Congress to alter the results and give Trump a second term. It was a truly dark day for our country.
In the wake of the insurrection, Grassley condemned it and the man behind it, saying “politicians in Washington should not second guess the courts once they have ruled.” The seven-term senator was even harsher in February.
“President Trump continued to argue that the election had been stolen even though the courts didn’t back up his claims,” he said, noting that he “encouraged his own, loyal vice president, Mike Pence, to take extraordinary and unconstitutional actions during the Electoral College count.”
Yet last weekend, Grassley eagerly accepted an endorsement from Trump in his bid for an eighth term in 2022. The longtime politician was blunt about why he feels that way.
“If I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart,” Grassley said.
Hinson also had been critical of Trump’s actions in January.
“I believe the president bears responsibility, and that is why I urged him personally to call off those who were violently storming the Capitol last week,” she said on Jan. 13. “I wish he had spoken up sooner, but he did not.”
But that was then. The reality is, Trump maintains a firm grip on the party. To oppose him is to risk defeat, and the men and women who rely on polls and public opinion are aware of that.
Conservative voters liked the fact that Trump named three justices to the Supreme Court. They remember the thriving economy before the COVID pandemic, and they agree with Trump’s America-first rhetoric and policies.
While other Republicans are interested in the 2024 nomination, including Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and others, they all have to stand back and see if Trump wants a third straight nomination. The last time that happened was Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was elected four times between 1932 and 1944. Trump, despite losing the popular vote in 2016 and 2020, has a hold on the hearts and minds of the vast majority of Republican voters.
At 75, he seeks to return to power and he remains the favorite to claim the nomination. With Biden struggling in the polls, there is a good chance Trump can match Grover Cleveland’s accomplishment and become a president with two numbers.