One such venue that drew Mr. Trump’s attention was Gettysburg, a wide-open national park with a built-in theme about a country divided against itself. The aides thought the setting would flatter Mr. Trump by allowing him to draw a comparison he loves: one between himself and Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Trump delivered a speech at Gettysburg during his campaign four years ago, calling it an “amazing place” and suggesting that the country was as divided as it had been during the Civil War. He also said that the election was rigged against him and that he planned to sue the women who had accused him of aggressive sexual advances (he never did).
A White House official said the president was leaning toward a series of speeches that could be held outdoors in different places, and a stage that would serve as the main hub of activity all week in Washington. It is also not yet clear if any of the ambitious plans will come to fruition for a convention set to start on Aug. 24.
Some aides have been pushing for Mr. Trump’s own Washington hotel, just down the street from the White House, to serve as the convention week hub. But other Washington locations are currently being more seriously considered.
“Conventions have gone the way of the dinosaur,” said Brian Ballard, the top Republican lobbyist in Florida and a major party donor, who was one of the key fund-raisers for the convention when it was set for Jacksonville. “But the acceptance speech matters more than anything else. I hope they find an iconic location. It will be unique, and make history.”
Mr. Trump has also indicated both privately and publicly that he likes the idea of giving his renomination speech from the confines of the White House — a move that would technically be legal but blurs the line between political candidate and public servant. Other presidents have come close to the line — President Barack Obama filmed two political advertisements in 2012 from the chief of staff’s office in the West Wing — and Trump advisers said they were on solid legal footing if Mr. Trump spoke from the residence rather than the West Wing.
So far, however, little except an overarching theme about the “forgotten men and women of America” has been finalized, and Mr. Trump has been characteristically indecisive about signing off on any plans. Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, said the convention would still be “a celebration of the accomplishments of President Trump on behalf of all Americans.”
Aides said they were planning programming that would reflect the kinds of stories highlighted every year during the State of the Union address, featuring speakers who are regular Americans with stories to tell about how their lives were affected by opportunity zones, school choice scholarships, or other initiatives promoted by the administration.