After losing a presidential election, candidates oftenuse their high profile in a variety of ways. Some seek office in their home state, others appear ontalk shows, publish books or even join their former opponent’s administration — in short, they remain in the public eye.
Not so with the 2016 presidential election, which sent plenty of political players into relative hiding. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stayed mostly silent in the weeks after her loss to Donald Trump in the general election, as didRepublican primary candidates once Trump won their party’s nomination in July.
Meanwhile, a notable exception includes Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost the Democratic primary to Clinton, and who has remained a vocal critic of the new administration.
Ben Carson, who ran against Trump in the primary, is the only former candidate to join the administration, as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Even those who once seemed close to President Trump, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, were tossed aside.
So where are they now? Here’s a rundown on both parties’ former presidential candidates.
Unable to overcome Trump’s barbed attacks over his family ties and “low energy,” Bush, the one-time top contender and former Florida governor, dropped out of the race in February 2016.
In a recent interview with the Miami Herald, Bush offered a mixed review of Trump’s first months in office, applauding his appointments but saying that issues like Trump’s wiretap claims distract from the issues and diminish the office.
Bush has entered the private sector since the campaign, joining the board of directors for a Florida-based communications tower company earlier this month.
Just days after the Senate confirmed Ben Carson as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the retired neurosurgeon drew harsh criticism for a statement he made that attempted to praise immigrants.
“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” Carson said. “But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
While the New Jersey governor was rumored to take a spot in Trump’s administration, Chris Christie fell off the president’s short list amid Bridgegate scandals last year. Now, Christie says he plans to finish out his term and return to civilian life.
The governor is rumored to be taking over a primetime slot on New York sports radio station WFAN-AM, too.
After losing his party’s nomination last year, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas returned to Capitol Hill, and remained a vocal critic of Trump until Election Day.
Trump recently called Cruz “a friend,” seemingly putting an end to the barbed attacks he and Cruz traded on the campaign trail. Cruz, meanwhile, has applauded Trump’s measures and nominations, particularly that of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 21, 2017
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO entered the 2016 ring with no prior experience as an elected official. Now, it seems Carly Fiorina is looking to change that.
Fiorina has said she’sconsidering running for Sen. Tim Kaine’s seatin Virginia, which is up in 2018. While she said it’s too early to make a decision, Fiorina appears to have Clinton’s former running mate in her sights.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) clashed with constituents last weekend at a terse town hall over his conservative values.
When the crowd chanted “your last term,” the third-term senator fired back: “Good! Bring it on — we’re going to have an election in 2020 … Between now and 2020, I’m not going to worry about losing my job. I’m not worried about you not voting for me. You know what I am worried about? Our country.”
After suspending his campaign in February 2016, the former Arkansas governor transitioned to a fervent supporter of Trump, especially on his Fox News talk show.
While he’s frequently criticized GOP infighting, particularly over the health care bill, Trump has also differed with Trump on some issues. When the president unveiled a spending plan that included harsh cuts to arts, science and research spending, Huckabee made an appeal in an op-ed to save the National Endowment for the Arts.
The former Louisiana governor has largely stayed out of the public eye since suspending his presidential campaign in November 2015 and subsequently endorsing Rubio.
Jindal has appeared on a few health care panels, but has not offered much insight into Trump’s young administration, save for applauding some cabinent nominations.
Confirming @BetsyDevos was a big win for America’s underprivileged students. Now the real work begins.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) February 7, 2017
The second-term Ohio governor returned to his home state after suspending his presidential campaign. But he didn’t support Trump, and announced that he had voted for 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, instead.
In February, Kasich and Trump met at the White House. A harsh critic of the billionaire during the campaign, Kasich said he’ll continue to be critical when necessary, but hopes for the administration’s success.
Despite rumors, Kasich said this month he has no plans to run for president again, after two failed bids in 2016 and 2000.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has remained a vocal conservative voice in the Senate under Trump’s administration, working to defeat his party’s Obamacare replacement plan, painting it as “Obamacare lite.”
— Rand Paul (@DrRandPaul) March 10, 2017
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was booted from two state offices since Trump’s inauguration, as his Tampa and Jacksonville landlords have said protests outside the buildings were too disruptive.
While his presidential campaign clashed with his duties as senator last year, Rubio said he’s not seeking another office.
“Me running for governor? No, I’m going to be in the Senate. Six years from now, I’ll either be running for re-election for the Senate or doing something different,” Rubio told a political blog based in Florida.
Clinton remained silent for more than a week after conceding the election to her Republican opponent, and stayed out of public eye for much longer, though she and husband Bill Clinton attended Trump’s inauguration.
That hasn’t slowed her criticisms of Trump, however. She frequently calls out Republicans and the president on her Twitter for their lack of response to bigotry, and has celebrated the failure of the party’s health care alternative.
JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting w/ @POTUS.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 21, 2017
The former Maryland governor is considering another presidential run in 2020, reports say. Martin O’Malley suspended his presidential campaign in February 2016.
O’Malley polled caucus voters in Iowa about the possible run, and ranked in a top spot among Democrats alongside New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
The Independent Vermont senator is keeping good on a key campaign promise, and plans to introduce a single-payer health care plan amid Republicans’ failed Obamacare replacement.
Meanwhile, the firebrand hasn’t ruled out a 2020 run.