Donald Trump is reportedly considering lashing out at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in anger over GOP defections in his second impeachment.
Trump, who will address CPAC in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, is still stewing over McCarthy’s decision to keep Rep. Liz Cheney in the conference’s number two position after she voted to impeach, three sources told Politico.
Last month, McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago in a bid to patch things up with Trump after saying that the former president ‘bears responsibility’ for the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
His effort to appease Trump continued this week, when McCarthy took a swipe at Cheney on Fox News, suggesting that she supports cancel culture.
Donald Trump (seen Saturday) is reportedly considering lashing out at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference
But McCarthy suffered an awkward moment at a press conference on Wednesday, when a reporter asked Cheney if Trump should be speaking at CPAC.
‘I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country,’ she replied, as McCarthy stood by awkwardly.
‘On that high note, thank you all very much,’ McCarthy added, swiftly concluding the press conference.
As the Republican Party grapples with deep divisions over the extent to which it should embrace Trump after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress, those gathered at the annual CPAC made clear they are not ready to move on from the former president.
‘Donald J. Trump ain´t going anywhere,’ said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of several potential 2024 presidential contenders who spoke at the event, being held this year in Orlando to bypass COVID-19 restrictions.
Trump on Sunday will be making his first post-presidential appearance at the conference, and aides say he will use the speech to reassert his power.
McCarthy suffered an awkward moment at a press conference on Wednesday, when Cheney said of Trump: ‘I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country’
The program underscored the split raging within the GOP, as many establishment voices argue the party must move on from Trump to win back the suburban voters who abandoned them in November, putting President Joe Biden in the White House.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and others worry Trump will undermine the party´s political future if he and his conspiracy theories continue to dominate Republican politics.
Indeed, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., another potential 2024 hopeful, drew among the loudest applause and a standing ovation when he bragged about challenging the election certification on Jan. 6 despite the storming of the Capitol building by Trump supporters trying to halt the process.
‘I thought it was an important stand to take,’ he said.
Others argued the party would lose if it turned its back on Trump and alienated the working-class voters drawn to his populist message.
‘We cannot – we will not – go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,’ said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who outlined a new Trumpian GOP agenda focused on restrictive immigration policies, opposition to China and limiting military engagement.
A statue of former president Donald Trump on display at the merchandise show at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday
‘We will not win the future by trying to go back to where the Republican Party used to be,’ echoed Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the fundraising committee tasked with electing Republicans to the Senate.
‘If we do, we will lose the working base that President Trump so animated. We´re going to lose elections across the country, and ultimately we´re going to lose our nation.’
Scott is dismissing pressure on him to ‘mediate between warring factions on the right’ or ‘mediate the war of words between the party leaders.’ He has refused to take sides in the bitter ongoing fight between Trump and McConnell, who blamed Trump for inciting the deadly Capitol riot but ultimately voted to acquit him at his impeachment trial earlier this month.
‘I´m not going to mediate anything,’ he said, criticizing those who ‘prefer to fan the flames of a civil war on our side’ as ‘foolish’ and ‘ridiculous.’