Trump allies show fealty to former president with golden statue

Pablo Tucker
February 27, 2021

Former President Donald Trump on Friday endorsed a primary challenger running against Ohio's Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who voted to impeach Trump last month, in an early sign of the former President's plans to exert his influence on Republican primaries ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Two participants wheeled the larger-than-life statue through the conference center lobby, according to a video on social media.

Discussing the Republicans who have blamed his father for the January 6 Capitol attack, Mr Trump Jnr said: "You've heard the rhetoric from some of them over the last couple of weeks, and now you've seen that change very quickly".

This weekend, conservative lawmakers, commentators and grassroots activists will mingle at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an event that serves as the basis for discussions and speeches about the present and future path of the Republican Party.

Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor Maryland U.S. on Saturday Feb. 29 2020
Bloomberg Getty Images

"Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First", Trump said in a statement. "We're not really a wing, we're the whole body", he said.

He also appeared to forecast a future role for Trump, who is pondering another run for president in 2024: "Trump may not have drained the swamp all the way - yet".

"We will not win the future by trying to go back to where the Republican Party used to be", echoed Florida Sen.

But one person who won't be there is Al Cárdenas, the former chair of the American Conservative Union, the parent organization of the conference, and former chair of the Florida Republican Party.

GOLDEN, CO - OCTOBER 29: President Donald Trump addressed a campaign rally in the Rodeo Arena at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds October 29, 2016 in Golden, Colorado.

"I think there's a disconnect between the Washington DC Republican Party and where the base is - and the base is still with Trump", lobbyist John Feehery, who worked in House Republican leadership for 15 years, told AFP. "If we argue with ourselves, we're going to lose".

Hawley, another possible 2024 candidate, called himself part of the future of the party.

After losing the Senate and White House, and failing to retake the House of Representatives, a United States political party would normally lick its wounds, jettison its failed leader and chart a new path forward to claw back relevance.

"Supporters of president Trump vastly outnumber his critics within the Republican Party", Pitney said, adding conservatives may not enter the 2024 race unless Trump is out.

"President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party", congressman Jim Jordan declared Wednesday on Twitter.

Many other senior Republicans did not attend this year's event.

After chastising Trump as "practically and morally responsible" for the Capitol rioting, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News this week he would "absolutely" support another Trump bid, should Trump win the nomination in three years.

Mr. Trump had repeatedly said Mr. Pence had the power to stop the certification of the election results, even though he did not. It is a prime venue for speakers who want to gauge interest in whether they should run for president based on the enthusiasm they generate.

Other reports by iNewsToday