COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will be joined by two high-profile South Carolina supporters — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Henry McMaster — at his first public 2024 presidential campaign event in the early voting state later this month.
Trump will be at the Statehouse in Columbia on Jan. 28 and will unveil his South Carolina leadership team, according to a person familiar with the plans. That person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
Trump's campaign had previously confirmed the South Carolina event but hadn't provided details.
The event will also include members of South Carolina’s congressional delegation, as well as state lawmakers, according to the person.
U.S. Rep. Russell Fry, who with Trump's support ousted U.S. Rep. Tom Rice in a primary last year, told the AP on Tuesday that he would be at the rollout, saying Trump "delivered for the American people before and can do so again.”
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, who defeated a Trump-backed opponent in her own GOP primary last year, told AP she would not attend the event, and that she would would wait to endorse a 2024 candidate “once the field is set."
“Until then, my powder is dry," she said.
Among remaining Republicans in South Carolina's U.S. House delegation, Rep. William Timmons' office said he would attend Trump's event, Rep. Jeff Duncan’s office said he would not, and a spokesman for Rep. Ralph Norman said his attendance wasn't certain. A representatives for Rep. Joe Wilson didn't immediately return a message Tuesday.
According to South Carolina government officials, the Trump campaign has blocked off 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. at a variety of sites inside and outside the Statehouse building, planning for “500 attendees.”
Reservation information shared with AP promotes the event "as an opportunity to exemplify the strong support from elected officials in the state as we approach the one year mark to South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary.”
Some operatives and elected officials in South Carolina have been receiving calls from Graham asking for their support for Trump's reelection bid. At least two of the people asked had turned down the request, according to the person, who spoke with the pair.
Since announcing his latest presidential run in November, Trump has limited his public campaign appearances to events at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida before an invited crowd or in a virtual setting.
Trump’s visit to South Carolina comes as two of the state’s top Republicans mull 2024 bids of their own.
Nikki Haley, a former governor and onetime U.N. ambassador, said she would take the holiday season to consider a White House campaign.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott has been making visits in other early voting states and launched a political action committee that could become a presidential campaign vehicle. A Scott spokesperson did not immediately comment Tuesday when asked if the senator would attend Trump's event.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP