2024 Watch: Trump to hold first public campaign event later this month in South Carolina

Former President Trump is heading to South Carolina later this month to hold the first public campaign event this year of his recently launched 2024 White House run.

The former president’s campaign tells Fox News that Trump will appear at an event in Columbia, South Carolina, where he will introduce his leadership team in the crucial early presidential primary state that holds the third contest in the GOP nominating calendar.

The event will mark a more public phase of Trump’s bid to regain the White House, and his first campaign style event since declaring his candidacy with a speech in mid-November at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Additionally, it comes as the former president has faced criticism over his campaign launch and controversial comments and actions the past two months.

‘Most of what goes on in a campaign isn’t something you write press releases about,’ senior Trump campaign adviser Chris LaCavita told Fox News on Thursday. ‘You’ve got to do the blocking and Xs and the Os, and you can’t succeed when campaigns really get going unless you have the bases covered’

LaCavitia emphasized, ‘the campaign’s been very deliberate and methodical building out an operation that can sustain a long-term effort, and also being mindful of the fact that it is a long-term effort. The campaign is not about making news every single day. It’s about getting the job done and putting the campaign in the best position to succeed.’

Part of getting that job done is expanding the operation, both nationally and in the early voting presidential nominating states.

A source in the Trump campaign told Fox News. ‘early voting state teams are being built out, and leadership teams are being built out.’

Additionally, a Republican in New Hampshire — which holds the first primary in the GOP nominating calendar — who is part of Trump’s wider orbit, told Fox News that the campaign’s ‘starting to put the machine together…It’s ramping up and decision-making time.’

Steven Cheung, a veteran of the 2016 and 2020 Trump campaigns who is serving as spokesman of the 2024 campaign, emphasized that ‘the focus of what we’ve been doing is to build out an operation that’s second to none and a lot of that isn’t necessarily public facing, but it’s what’s required.’

‘The focus of what we’ve been doing is to build out an operation that’s second to none and a lot of that isn’t necessarily public facing, but it’s what’s required,’ Cheung told Fox News. ‘Certainly, there will be events along the way, but in the last two months we’ve been focused on doing a lot of things behind the scenes to build up this campaign.’

In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has also launched a series of policy initiatives and statements through video rollouts.

‘The campaign is putting out substantive policy from the president in a video format. That’s not been done on this level before,’ LaCavita told Fox News.

More than two years after his 2020 election defeat at the hands of President Biden, Trump remains the most influential politician and ferocious fundraiser in the Republican Party, and until recently, he was the clear and overwhelming front-runner in the early 2024 GOP presidential nomination polls. 

However, his latest campaign launch was considered anything but spectacular. Trump’s candidacy kick-off event was criticized not only by Democrats, but also by fellow Republicans. Some in Trump’s political orbit told Fox News the early announcement was intended in part to clear the field of potential rivals and help the former president avoid the growing net of legal entanglements, but it appears to have failed on both accounts.

Trump also appears to be the victim of self-inflicted wounds from his heavily criticized dinner at Mar-a-Lago over the Thanksgiving holiday with the antisemitic rapper Ye — formerly known as Kanye West — and White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, to a widely panned social media post which appeared to suggest the ‘termination’ of the U.S. Constitution, as well as a profitable but mocked roll out of digital trading cards portraying Trump as a superhero, and his controversial abortion comments earlier this month that received push back from some social conservatives in the party’s base.

Trump has also faced plenty of incoming fire over the midterm election losses of GOP nominees handpicked and supported by the former president, which were a contributing factor in the lackluster results for Republicans in November in what many had hoped would be a red wave year.

Word of the campaign event in South Carolina was first reported by Politico.

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