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Trump in 2024? He says only that 'a Republican' will win
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Trump in 2024? He says only that 'a Republican' will win

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Former President Trump will address some of the Republican Party's most influential donors this weekend at a time when some are uneasy over the tight grip Trump continues to have over the party."I think a lot of people, myself included, are thinking about the future of the Republican Party. Does that include Trump or does it not?" said GOP donor Dan Eberhart.Dan Eberhart has donated thousands of dollars to Republicans and Trump's campaign. This year he won't be attending the RNC's retreat in Palm Beach, Florida -- part of which will be hosted at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. But he has heard from others planning to attend who say they're most concerned about the 2022 midterms. "If I'm Mitch McConnell or Kevin McCarthy, I'm extremely worried about Trump interjecting himself in these primaries and potentially costing us control in the House or controlling the Senate in November [2022]," Eberhart said. The retreat comes about one month after the former president attempted to get the RNC to stop using his name in fundraising -- instead telling donors to send money to his Save America PAC."He still is somebody who has who is very highly regarded, who a lot of Republican voters have a positive impression of," said Lanhee Chen. "And as a result, his role in politics continues to be a significant one."Even without his social media accounts, Trump has been able to control the conversation and sway news coverage with interviews, official statements and endorsements of loyal allies. "I will be actively working to elect strong tough and smart Republican leaders," Trump said. Those close to Trump did not respond to interview requests for this story. But there have been reports he is potentially creating a social media site which could have an even greater impact on messaging in the GOP. "Not having access to those things I think certainly has been to his detriment," Chen said. "So it doesn't surprise me at all to hear and certainly this is consistent with what I'm hearing, [that] the former president is looking for ways to get back into social media again, have some kind of platform you can use to directly communicate with the American people."

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump staked his claim to the Republican Party in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, casting his populist policies and attack-dog politics as the key to future Republican success.

Trump also reinforced his commitment to the GOP in his address, according to prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press, which comes as Republican officials seek to downplay an intraparty feud over Trump's role in the party, his commitment to GOP fundraising and his plans for 2024. While Trump's advisers report he will emphasize party unity, he rarely sticks to script.

“The key to this triumphant future will be to build on the gains our amazing movement has made over the past four years,” Trump 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.”

The former president delivered his remarks behind closed doors at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, in the final address of the Republican National Committee's weekend donor summit in Palm Beach. Most of the RNC's invitation-only weekend gathering was set at a luxury hotel four miles away, but attendees were bused to Trump's club for his remarks.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to address donors Saturday night as well. Earlier in the weekend, a slew of candidates already positioning themselves for a 2024 presidential run made appearances. Besides DeSantis, the potential White House contenders included South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also spoke.

In his remarks Friday night, Cotton leaned into the GOP’s culture wars, attacking the Democrats’ positions on transgender youth, voter ID laws and Major League Baseball's decision to move its All-Star Game to protest Republican voting laws — just as Trump does in his prepared remarks.

While a significant faction of the Republican Party hopes to move past Trump’s divisive leadership, the location of the weekend gathering suggests that the GOP, at least for now, is not ready to replace Trump as its undisputed leader and chief fundraiser.

Trump's team reports that his remarks are intended to reinforce his continued leadership role in Republican affairs, a sharp break from past presidents.

“Saturday’s speech will be welcomed words to the Republican donors visiting Mar-a-Lago to hear directly from President Trump," Trump adviser Jason Miller said. "Palm Beach is the new political power center, and President Trump is the Republican Party’s best messenger.”

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. And 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 downplay 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 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney. Neither attended the weekend donor summit.

Trump did not attack Cheney or McConnell — or any Republicans — in Saturday's speech, at least according to his scripted remarks.

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