Republicans are bringing hundreds of donors and several future presidential prospects to the doorstep of former US President Donald Trump, indicating how much power and influence Trump has over the GOP or Grand Old party, as the Republicans are usually referred to.
Trump himself will headline the closed-door donor retreat, which is designed to raise millions of dollars for the GOP’s political arm while giving donors exclusive access to the party’s evolving group of 2024 prospects and congressional leaders. The weekend event will play out in an oceanfront luxury hotel just four miles from Trump’s Florida estate, where allies of the former president will simultaneously be holding their own fundraising events.
“The venue for the quarterly meeting along with Trump’s keynote speech at CPAC shows that the party is still very much in Trump’s grip,” said one of the invitees, GOP donor Dan Eberhart, referring to Trump’s February address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. “The party doesn’t seem to have the ability to hit escape velocity from its former standard bearer.”
Trump’s continued hold on Republican donors and elected officials ensures that Trumpism will remain the driving force in GOP politics indefinitely.
The lineup at the weekend gathering notably excludes any leading Republicans who have pushed back against Trump’s claims or supported his impeachment. Those who aren’t expected to appear include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney or Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
The gathering will instead feature Trump himself and a slew of candidates already positioning themselves for a 2024 presidential bid, assuming Trump himself does not run again. The potential White House contenders include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. Also scheduled to speak are House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. SOVEREIGNPH