Former US President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed Republicans to support those candidates who share his values in next year’s midterm elections as he launched a new more active phase of his post presidency. (June 5) AP Domestic
WASHINGTON – Following a series of speeches to Republican conservatives over the past five months, former President Donald Trump will head to Ohio and Florida over the next two-and-a-half weeks to hold the kinds of mass rallies with rank-and-file supporters that fueled his White House campaigns.
Trump is expected to stage his first post-presidential rally in the Cleveland area on June 26, and follow up with an event in the Tampa area on July 3, said two aides familiar with the planning.
Trump, who has continued to protest his election loss to President Joe Biden and attack his political critics during his speeches, has long promised to conduct the more free-wheeling rallies in the months to come.
“We’ll be doing one in Florida, we’re going to do one in Ohio, we’re going to do one in North Carolina,” Trump said during a May interview with One America News.
Opponents said Trump will no doubt make false claims about “voter fraud” in 2020, just as he did in the weeks leading up to the violent Jan. 6 insurrection by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol.
“There is a big danger that he will stir up trouble,” said John J. Pitney Jr., a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California. “A responsible public figure would lay off the Big Lie. But he’s not a responsible person. He’s Trump.”
Pitney and other analysts said Trump also wants to bask in the adulation of his most fervent supporters, and to seek the media spotlight for his grievances with the U.S. political system.
“One word: attention,” Pitney said, noting that Trump remains banned from Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. Trump recently shut down a new blog because of low traffic.
“Rallies are his ticket to media coverage,” Pitney said. “Another feature of rallies is appealing to him. He’s an applause junkie, and he needs his fix.”
Republican strategist Liz Mair said one of Trump’s goals is to get on television “as much as humanly possible,” knowing that will help him if he decides to run for president again in 2024. “I’m not sure media has the interest in covering his rallies that they did in 2015 and 2016, though,” she added.
Trump is also planning to get involved in the 2022 congressional and state elections, including Republican primaries in which he is backing GOP challengers to lawmakers who have been critical of him.
Lara Brown, director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, said Trump will want to use the rallies to demonstrate continuing leadership of the Republican Party, despite his being out of office.
The events will also allow him “to reconnect with his supporters, which also means gathering and updating the contact information that his political team has for those who attend his rallies,” Brown said.
Two Trump aides discussed the upcoming Ohio and Florida rallies on condition of anonymity because final details of the appearances are still being worked out.
Trump gave a more formal speech in North Carolina on June 5 to the state Republican Party convention, following similar appearances earlier in the year.
In late February, Trump spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Orlando, Florida. In April, he addressed a group of Republican donors who gathered at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.
At each of these stops, Trump continued to make false claims about election fraud in 2020, while generally avoiding discussion of the Jan. 6 insurrection designed to try and overturn his election loss.
Former Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that he wasn’t sure that he and former President Donald Trump would ever see “eye to eye” over what happened on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol (June 3) AP Domestic
Trump has attacked Republicans over his impeachment for inciting the insurrection, a group that includes Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
Cheney, one of 10 House Republicans to vote for impeachment, has said the party needs to move on from Trump, and that his continuing claims of voter fraud could trigger more violence.
House Republicans who still support Trump, with their leader’s blessing, removed Cheney from her House GOP leadership position in May.
Trump will no doubt criticize Biden during the upcoming rallies. No president has publicly attacked his successor in such a public way so early in a new term.
In his previous public appearances, the former president has even attacked his former vice president, Mike Pence, for refusing to heed his request to block the counting of electoral votes that elected Biden.
Trump has pledged to campaign against Republicans who went against him on impeachment. That includes a GOP member from the Cleveland area that will host his first rally: Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, who like Cheney voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 riot.
Trump has also hinted at another presidential campaign in 2024, and the rallies could be used to gauge support for such an endeavor.
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