Former President Trump is expected to attend the Republican National Committee’s spring donor retreat in Florida in April, according to a Republican familiar with the situation and an invitation obtained by CBS News.
Mr Trump’s planned appearance at the rally with major GOP donors was first reported by Politico. CBS News reported in January that the RNC was planning to invite the former president to the event.
The retreat gives potential 2024 candidates a chance to make their case with party donors with deep pockets. As per the invitation, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Florida Senator Rick Scott, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are also planned.
The former president’s appearance comes as GOP leaders debate what his role should be in the party’s future.
RNC President Ronna McDaniel is due to meet with Trump this week, a source confirmed to CBS News. She is one of her allies and was unanimously re-elected president of the RNC in January. McDaniel has pledged to remain neutral in the 2024 primary and told The Associated Press in January that she wanted to see the former president help Republicans midway through 2022.
The Senate recently passed Mr. Trump’s acquittal of inciting the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill during his second impeachment trial. State and local Republican parties have censored some of the Senate Republicans who voted to convict Mr. Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he voted for Mr. Trump’s acquittal because he believed it was unconstitutional to convict a former president. After the trial, McConnell gave a burning speech in the Senate and said the former president was “morally and practically responsible” for the riot.
Mr Trump hit back at McConnell in a statement days later, calling the Minority Leader a “stern, brooding, grim political hack.” He pledged to support primary candidates who support his political program “where necessary and appropriate”.
As some factions of the Republican Party explore ways to get beyond Mr. Trump, polls conducted after the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill showed the former president still has a solid base of support for the government. within the Republican Party.
A recent CBS News poll found that 73% of Republicans said it was very or somewhat important for Republicans to show loyalty to Mr. Trump. A Politico / Morning Consult poll conducted after the impeachment trial found that 81% of Republicans approved of Mr. Trump. An Economist / YouGov poll released this week found that 48% of Republicans would not vote for a congressional or gubernatorial candidate who criticizes Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump is expected to make his first public address since leaving Sunday at CPAC, a conservative political conference. A source told CBS News the former president is expected to discuss the future of the Republican Party and may attack some of President Biden’s policies.
The former president’s grip on the GOP was evident when CBS News received responses from just five of the 50 GOP senators as to whether they agreed with Mr. Trump’s claims that he had won the election, which he always repeats, and whether they support the senator. Mitch McConnell as Republican Minority Leader.
Several high-profile Republicans have traveled to Florida or have spoken to the former president since he left office. The two top Republicans in the house visited him at his resort town of Mar-a-Lago. Florida Senator Rick Scott, who is chairman of the Republican campaign arm of the Senate, told reporters on Tuesday that he also spoke to Mr. Trump about his efforts in the midterm election.
“I told him I wanted to win in 22, and I said I’m going to be very specific about the areas where I think he could be useful, and he has to make the decision whether he wants to do that or no, ”Scott said. .
Weijia Jiang and Alan He contributed to this report.