Trump maintains grip on GOP despite violent insurrection


PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — As a raging band of his supporters scaled walls, smashed windows, used flagpoles to beat police and breached the U.S. Capitol in a bid to overturn a free and fair election, Donald Trump’s excommunication from the Republican Party seemed a near certainty, his name tarnished beyond repair.

Some of his closest allies, including Fox News hosts like Laura Ingraham, warned that day that Trump was “destroying” his legacy. “All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough,” said his friend and confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader who worked closely with Trump to dramatically reshape the judiciary, later denounced him as “morally responsible” for the attack.

But one year later, Trump is hardly a leader in exile. Instead, he is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party and a leading contender for the 2024 presidential nomination. 

Trump is positioning himself as a powerful force in the primary campaigns that will determine who gets the party’s backing heading into the fall midterms, when control of Congress, governor’s offices and state election posts are at stake. At least for now, there’s little stopping Trump as he makes unbending fealty to his vision of the GOP a litmus test for success in primary races, giving ambitious Republicans little incentive to cross him.

“Let’s just say I’m horrendously disappointed,” said former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, a longtime Republican who now serves on the advisory committee of the Renew America Movement, a group trying to wrest the party away from Trump’s control.

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“His ego was never going to let him accept defeat and go quietly into the night,” she added. “But what I am surprised by is how deferential so many of the Republican elected officials” have been.

Rather than expressing any contrition for the events of Jan. 6, Trump often seems emboldened and has continued to lie about his 2020 election loss. He frequently — and falsely — says the “real” insurrection was on Nov. 3, the date of the 2020 election when Democrat Joe Biden won in a 306-232 Electoral College victory and by a 7 million popular vote margin.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges Trump appointed. 

Undaunted, Trump is preparing for another run for the White …read more



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