She praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol, was pictured with so-called QAnon conspiracy theorists, and called the rape victims “naive and unprepared.”
Amanda Chase, 51, a senator from Virginia who likes to call herself ‘Trump in Heels’, was recently forced to sit in a plexiglass box after refusing to wear a face mask during sessions of the legislature of State.
But despite censorship, her controversies helped make her a national star among Trump supporters, increasing her chances in the race to become governor of Virginia.
She is part of a group of Trump cronies who are now launching early campaigns in statewide races across the country, vowing to continue Mr. Trump’s legacy.
The new breed of Trumpists threaten to start a disorderly civil war ahead of the party’s annual conference this week.
Ms. Chase said in particular of the insurgency on Capitol Hill: “They were not rioters and looters, they were patriots who love their country and do not want to see our great republic turned into a socialist country.”
The establishment of the Virginia Republican Party has attempted to disown Ms. Chase, but there is no doubt that she enjoys broad support among party voters.
In a poll released Friday, Ms. Chase was the runaway favorite to clinch the Republican nomination ahead of her three rivals.
According to Ms. Chase, it was the support she garnered from pro-Trump, grassroots voters in Virginia that made it first.
“It’s my basic support,” the 51-year-old said recently. “I agree the most with President Trump number one because I’m a businessman, I’m not a politician.
Ms. Chase may be right. Polls show the former president is enjoying renewed support among Republican voters following the acquittal of his impeachment trial.
Very aware of the power he wields within the base, Mr. Trump has threatened to work to oust elected Republicans who voted to remove him by supporting the main challengers when they are re-elected.
In addition to Ms. Chase in Virginia is Josh Mandel, who runs next year in the Ohio Senate race and calls himself “Trump’s number one ally” in the state.
Former Trump press secretary Sarah Sanders is running for the Arkansas governor’s race. A number of Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters are also planning to compete in the Pennsylvania Senate race in 2022.
Members of Mr. Trump’s own family are also seen as likely contenders in statewide races. Her daughter, Ivanka Trump, has been repeatedly selected as an upcoming political star and her stepdaughter, Lara Trump, is seen as a likely candidate for a vacant seat in the North Carolina Senate.
Ms Trump, who has two children with the former president’s second son Eric, is a former personal trainer and television producer and became a regular Trump campaign stand-up in the presidential election.
The 38-year-old has been instrumental in courting female suburban voters and has been willing to echo her stepfather’s claims that the race was ‘ripe with fraud’.
Ms. Trump’s candidacy for the Senate may offer a crucial first test for party leadership.
Some prominent Republicans, like Senator Lindsey Graham, have offered Mrs. Trump’s full endorsement, calling her “the future of the Republican Party.”
Mr Graham argued that the party could not win without the populist policies of the former president.
“I know Trump can be a handful, but he is the most dominant figure in the Republican Party,” he said this week, adding: “We don’t have a chance to snowball in hell to take back the majority without Donald Trump. If you don’t understand that, you just aren’t looking. “
But Mr. Graham’s opinion is not shared by the entire party establishment. Some senior officials believe that following the loss of the White House and the two parts of Congress under Democratic control, it is time for the Republican Party to step down from Mr. Trump.
The party is now divided between those who think they should capitalize on the “MAGA” movement by fielding populist candidates backing Trump in the 2022 midterm election and those who support traditional conservative contenders who could help win back voters moderates who have abandoned the party. in 2020.
The theme of Mr. Trump’s future role in the party will take center stage this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual jamboree of grassroots republicanism.
The event was moved for the first time in nearly 50 years to Florida, Mr. Trump’s new home state.
The conference’s list of speakers is littered with former Trump administration figures and Mr. Trump himself is expected to be in attendance.
Those who broke up with Mr. Trump appear to be persona non grata. One of the notable omissions from the speakers calendar is Nikki Haley, a former UN ambassador and likely 2024 presidential candidate.
“There is no doubt that this is a very difficult time in the Republican Party,” Olivia Troye, a former adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, told The Telegraph.
“Realistically, the Republican Party is still the Trump Party. There is no doubt that the acquittal has emboldened the more extreme movements of the GOP. Right now, these extremes have become mainstream – this is the model we have seen, but it will come at a price. “
Ms Troye, now the head of an anti-Trump group, said that while she believed populist and supporting Trump candidates could win local races, it would cost the party dearly when it comes to national elections.
“I have seen a lot of registered Republicans quitting the party, they don’t want to be associated with this type of movement, especially what happened on Capitol Hill,” she added.
“I don’t think the majority of Americans are going to subscribe to a base full of conspiracy theorists and lies.”