The first donors ’withdrawal in the spring after a political party’s defeat is often a time for reflection and renewal, as officials chart a new direction forward.
But with former President Donald J. Trump determined to maintain his grip on the Republican Party and its associated party base as ever, the top donors’ meeting of the Republican National Committee in South Florida this weekend was not a moment of restart but more than that. . A reminder of the continuing tensions and divisions that anger the Republican Party.
The same former president who sent the party last month a cease and desist letter asking them to stop using his image in raising funds on Saturday night was the main address for fundraising for the party.
Fred Zidman, a veteran Republican fundraiser in Texas, described “it’s an enormous complication,” describing Trump’s continued presence on the political scene.
The delicate dance between Trump and the party, after losing the House and Senate and the White House under his control, became evident on Saturday, when major party donors attended a series of receptions and paintings at the Four Seasons resort before traveling to March. Lago, the former president’s private club, to hear Trump speak.
Zidman said the former president’s insistence on leading the party “affects all members,” as lawmakers and would-be elected officials compete to support Trump, who has been as strong in the Republican primaries as he may be problematic in the general election.
“He has already shown that he wants to have an important opinion or to maintain control of the party,” Zidman said. “He has already shown all indications that he will give primaries to everyone who did not support him.” “Everything is very complicated.”
Ahead of Trump’s speech at a special event held at his new home inside the Mar-a-Lago complex, advisors to the former president said he would demonstrate his commitment to the party and Republican unity.
But Trump abruptly deviated from his speech on Saturday night and instead criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a “worthless loser” and mocking his wife, Ellen Chow, who was Trump’s transportation secretary.
The former president said he was “disappointed” in his former vice president, Mike Pence, and used vulgarity to refer to McConnell, according to several of the attendees who were not authorized to speak publicly about what was said at the private event. Trump complained that McConnell was not thankful enough for Chow’s inclusion in the cabinet.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent on Sunday.
Trump’s words made some of those in attendance uncomfortable.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich did not defend Trump when he made statements about his departure from Palm Beach on Sunday.
“We are in a much better position if we keep focusing on the Democrats. Period,” Gingrich noted.
Saturday’s speech was the latest event at the RNC donor summit held in Palm Beach. Most of the committee’s private meetings were held in a luxury hotel located a few kilometers from Mar-a-Lago. Attendees were transported by bus to Trump’s speech.
The new tension between Trump and Republican leaders comes as party leaders try to downplay the internal disagreement over Trump’s role in the group, his commitment to fundraising and his plans for 2024. Trump also continues to insist that the recent elections have been “stolen” by repeating false claims that Joe Biden He won the elections only because of voter fraud.