[guest post by Dana]
As discussions about the current state of the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s influence therein continue, Axios reports that, not only will Trump be speaking at CPAC next weekend, he will be focused on…payback and the next presidential election:
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.
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.
And perhaps most telling:
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.”
Given the poor showing by Republicans on votes to impeach and/or convict Trump and censures against those who voted in the affirmative, it’s hard to disagree that Trump remains immensely influential within the Republican Party. And unsurprisingly, his popularity with supporters remains stable:
An exclusive Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll finds Trump’s support largely unshaken after his second impeachment trial in the Senate, this time on a charge of inciting an insurrection in the deadly assault on the Capitol Jan. 6.
By double digits, 46%-27%, those surveyed say they would abandon the GOP and join the Trump party if the former president decided to create one. The rest are undecided.
Half of those polled say the GOP should become “more loyal to Trump,” even at the cost of losing support among establishment Republicans. One in five, 19%, say the party should become less loyal to Trump and more aligned with establishment Republicans.
Here are a few other individuals that are slated to speak at next weekend’s event – the event at which presidential contenders typically make an appearance: Gov. Kristi Noem (SD) and Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL), former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Rick Scott (Fla.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.).
Last year, @CPAC disinvited Mitt Romney because “he’s lied so continuously to conservatives.”
This year, they’re featuring a guy who still tells conservatives that he won the 2020 election.