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April 12, 2021, 10:01 a.m. EDT

Trump says the future of the Republican Party is Trumpism

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Associated Press

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Staking his claim to the Republican Party, former President Donald Trump is casting his populist policies and attack-dog politics as the key to future GOP success.

In a closed-door speech Saturday night to donors at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump also reinforced his commitment to the party, according to prepared remarks obtained by the Associated Press. His appearance came as Republican officials are trying to play down an internal feud over Trump’s role in the party, his commitment to GOP fundraising and his plans for 2024. While Trump’s advisers reported he would emphasize party unity, he did not, according to reported accounts of attendees, stick to the script.

See: Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

He called Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell — who drew particular ire from the Trump camp for frank remarks on Trump’s responsibility for the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol following the former president’s second impeachment acquittal — a “dumb son of a bitch,” according to insider accounts.

Trump also reportedly repeated his contention that it was a lack of courage rather than the Constitution and fact that prevented then–Vice President Mike Pence from blocking the congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory on Jan. 6.

“The key to this triumphant future will be to build on the gains our amazing movement has made over the past four years,” Trump, in his scripted remarks, told hundreds of leading Republican donors, according to the prepared remarks. “Under our leadership, we welcomed millions upon millions of new voters into the Republican coalition. We transformed the Republican Party into a party that truly fights for all Americans.”

Key Words (December 2020): Veteran Republican political strategist says the democratic party is the Democratic Party

It was the final address of the Republican National Committee’s weekend donor summit in Palm Beach. Most of the RNC’s invitation-only gathering was held at a luxury hotel a few miles away; attendees were bused to Trump’s club for his remarks.

While a significant faction of the Republican Party hopes to move past Trump’s divisive leadership, the location of the event suggests that the GOP, at least for now, considers Trump its undisputed leader and chief fundraiser.

Despite Saturday’s intended message, Trump’s commitment to the GOP is far from certain.

Earlier in the year, he raised the possibility of creating a new political party. Just a month ago, Trump’s political action committee sent letters to the RNC and others asking them to “immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image, and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech.”

GOP officials have repeatedly tried to play down the fundraising tensions and see Trump’s participation as a sign that he is willing to lend his name to the party. At the same time, Trump continues to aggressively accumulate campaign cash to fuel his own political ambitions.

Trump has also regularly attacked his Republican critics in recent weeks, especially McConnell and No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney. Neither attended the weekend donor summit.

Cheney was the highest ranking of the 10 House Republicans who crossed party lines to vote for Trump’s impeachment in January before the Senate acquittal in which seven Republicans joined all Democrats and both independents in voting to convict the former president.

MarketWatch contributed.

Read on: Detailed new Pentagon accounting of Capitol riot reflects pleas for assistance and order, Trump reluctance to act

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