When Joe Biden won the election in November, I honestly did have one brief moment where I was like “I wonder if we’ll cover politics during the Biden administration” and “will we have enough celebrity and royal gossip to make up for the lack of political drama.” Well, so far so good – royal/celeb gossip has been FIRE this year so far. As it turns out, not having a real awards season has been great for gossip. And as it turns out, there are still awful stories about the Trump family, what with Don Jr. getting coked up and filming videos from his gun room, and Donald Trump telling people that he’ll run again in 2024. He will make an appearance at CPAC next weekend – CPAC is the Conservative Political Action Conference and it’s an annual conference which generally makes news for Republicans trying to one-up each other as Nazis. Well, Trump is going to do… something.
In his first post-presidential appearance, Donald Trump plans to send the message next weekend that he is Republicans’ “presumptive 2024 nominee” with a vise grip on the party’s base, top Trump allies tell Axios. A longtime adviser called Trump’s speech a “show of force,” and said the message will be: “I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I’m still in charge.” Payback is his chief obsession. Axios has learned that Trump advisers will meet with him at Mar-a-Lago this week to plan his next political moves, and to set up the machinery for kingmaking in the 2022 midterms.
Trump is expected to stoke primary challenges for some of those who have crossed him, and shower money and endorsements on the Trumpiest candidates. State-level officials, fresh off censuring Trump critics, stand ready to back him up.
Trump’s speech Sunday at CPAC in Orlando is designed to show that he controls the party, whether or not he runs in 2024 His advisers argue that his power within the GOP runs deeper and broader than ever, and that no force can temper him. “Trump effectively is the Republican Party,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told me. “The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you’re attacking the Republican grassroots.”
The few Republicans who have spoken ill of Trump since the election — including House members who voted to impeach him, and senators who voted to convict — have found themselves censured, challenged and vilified by the parties in their home states. Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, has $75 million on hand, and he has a database of tens of millions of names.
The long game: Many Trump confidants think he’ll pretend to run but ultimately pass. He knows the possibility — or threat — gives him leverage and attention.
This is just an FYI – Trump will be doing Trump things this week and next weekend. He will make everything about the Trump Show and all of the Republicans are expected to show up in Florida to kiss the ring. I am legitimately curious about how it will work when “Trump candidates” try to primary the handful of congressmen and senators who did vote to impeach and convict. There’s enough evidence to suggest that within the Republican Party, there’s a healthy chunk of voters who would definitely be down for a third party, the Trump Party (or MAGA Party). And it’s ridiculous that Trump is suddenly mega-efficient when it comes to revenge, and he’s super-organized and keeping a list and brainstorming punishments, all when he literally sat on his ass for his final months in office and refused to put together any kind of vaccination plan. 500,000 dead Americans and he’s thinking about who has been “loyal” to him.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.