Former President Donald Trump is expected to tell attendees at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference that he’s still in charge, according to reports.
“Let’s just say that singing Kumbaya isn’t in the plans,” commented the RedState blog.
It will be Trump’s most significant public statement since he left Washington last month. Shut down by Twitter and Facebook, he was largely silent until interviews last week regarding the death of Rush Limbaugh.
Axios cited sources saying Trump “plans to send the message next weekend that he is Republicans’ ‘presumptive 2024 nominee’ with a vise grip on the party’s base.”
A longtime adviser told Axios that Trump’s speech will be a “show of force,” sending the message: “I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I’m still in charge.”
The report said “payback” is his “chief obsession.”
Trump will meet with advisers this week at Mar-a-Lago to plan his next moves, Axios reported, “and to set up the machinery for kingmaking in the 2022 midterms.”
Trump is expected to be influential in the 2022 midterms, pushing for primary challenges against establishment Republican lawmakers “who have crossed him.”
Polls show Trump has strong support among Republicans, and many party members say they would leave the GOP if Trump established a third party.
“Trump effectively is the Republican Party,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Axios. “The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you’re attacking the Republican grassroots.”
Some Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict Trump have been censured by state and local GOP entities.
“Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, has $75 million on hand, and he has a database of tens of millions of names,” the Axios report said. “Many Trump confidants think he’ll pretend to run but ultimately pass. He knows the possibility — or threat — gives him leverage and attention.”
The report said that in his CPAC speech, Trump will point out how many of his warnings about Joe Biden already have come true.
RedState noted Trump has “long positioned himself as a fierce anti-establishment figure, and there was no chance that he was going to sit idly by after 2020 and not try to influence matters going forward.”
“How deep that will go, i.e. will he run in 2024, has yet to be determined. What is clear is that he is going to use the presumption that he will be the 2024 nominee if he wants to be to force his will on any number of Republican politicians that he disapproves of.”
RedState said Republican Party leadership needs to recognize that Trump won’t go away and figure out a way to work together.
If not, the party could “crumble.”
“Whether McConnell, Cheney, etc. think it’s fair or not, Trump and the power he wields with Republican voters will have an effect going forward,” RedState said.