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Former Rep. Mike Rogers mulls White House bid and thinks Trump has less support than polls show

Former Rep. Mike Rogers mulls White House bid
Former Rep. Mike Rogers mulls White House bid 25:32

Former Rep. Mike Rogers, who served as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is spending the next couple of months deciding whether should run for president, and the Michigan Republican says the prospect of taking on former President Donald Trump won't deter him.

"No candidate declared or not, will determine my my decision to get in the race in spring or fall," the Michigan Republican told CBS chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa Thursday. "And whatever candidate that is, I do believe presenting real ideas and innovation will win the day. I think people are tired of that acerbic conversation about politics and name calling."

Rogers, who confirmed he's likely to make a decision around May or June, has been visiting some of the early-voting primary states, like New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. He told Costa he's been spending time with small groups of people to ask them what they think about the future of the country.

"Nobody says, 'Hey, what about Donald Trump?'" Rogers said. He opined that individual voters are "in a different place" than the national polls are. Among voters, he argued, "the former president's numbers go down."

People are tired of the chaos," Rogers said, adding, "I think they're ready for a calm, steady helm, where we actually make progress on issues that we have admired for 10 or 15 or 20 years and never quite can get to a conclusion."

He also would not commit to supporting Trump if he wins the Repubican nomination. (Costa's interview with Rogers took place Thursday afternoon, hours before news of the former president's indictment broke.) When asked, he responded, "I don't believe today as I'm sitting here that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee in 2024. Don't believe it." He predicted, "I think the candidate is probably not announced yet that will be our nominee in 2024."

The current GOP field so far only has two major candidates, Trump and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. There are more Republicans who say they'll make a decision about running in the coming months, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He and Trump have each espoused a more isolationist "America first" approach to foreign policy. DeSantis recently referred to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "territorial dispute," which is at odds with Rogers' more traditionally hawkish perspective. He told Costa, "If you're asking if I believe in defending the peace in the world, I absolutely do."

He expressed some reservations about the foreign policy background of some of the candidates who may be vying for the GOP nomination next year.

"Engagement is important", he said. "And one of the reasons that worries me about the candidate pool that we have today is the lack of understanding of the complexities of our of our national security threats, not only from just cyber, but from now the militarized space … I'm talking about the Chinese Communist Party and Russia and Iran is seeking to do the same thing." He continued, apparently alluding to DeSantis' characterization of Russia's invasion, "It's not well-thought through about what's happening and how the world is changing under our feet and how those those players want to be the dominant players in the future." 

Rogers sounded very much like a candidate who's been refining his pitch for the presidency in his conversation with Costa, and offered this response when asked about what his short introduction to people is in these early-voting states, and his reasons for considering a White House bid:

America needs something different, number one. Very rarely do you have a candidate who has been experienced in fixing tough problems in the federal government, as well as business experience, solid business experience in the new generation of jobs. Wouldn't it be great if we could combine that person and get them into a candidate? Candidly, I think that's exactly what gets me in the door — and people are inviting me back, more importantly, to hear the solutions.

Grace Kazarian contributed to this report.

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