UPDATED 1:15 PM PT – Saturday, February 20, 2021
President Trump met with top Republicans to have a “constructive conversation” over the future of the party. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is expected to meet with the 45th President at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida this weekend.
Graham expressed concern that infighting could hurt the party’s shot at regaining the House and Senate majority in 2022. Additionally, mainstream media reports noted a potential “rift” within the party between supporters of Trump and establishment Republicans, especially those who voted to convict him during the trial.
This particularly came to a head when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who voted to acquit President Trump, accused him of “dereliction of duty” following the trial. In turn, the 45th President vowed to endorse candidates of his choosing in Senate primaries, regardless of whether they line up with McConnell’s support.
This sparked speculation that a split could be forming within the GOP. However, even Republicans who have been critical of the President rejected this idea as the party seeks to reframe itself within the Trump legacy. Allies of President Trump remain firm in the belief that support for his agenda will help candidates headed into the midterms.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) was asked about the future of the Republican Party the day after the President’s acquittal. He said he doesn’t think the party can be successful by distancing itself from President Trump.
“I think if they really want to win competitive seats in purple states and if they want to win suburban districts, we want to somehow get back the House and Senate, want to win a presidential election” Hogan stated. “They’re going to have to start building coalitions like we’ve done here in one of the bluest states in the country where you can have a message that appeals to more people.”
On Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tweeted “establishment Republicans, if you try to purge Trumpism from the GOP, the base of our party will reject you.” He also noted “America first is the future.”
If you try to purge Trumpism from the GOP, the base of our party will reject you.
America First is the future.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 18, 2021
A recent poll showed support for President Trump among GOP voters was still strong following his acquittal in the impeachment trial. According to the Politico and Morning Consult survey, 59 percent of Republican respondents supported the idea of President Trump playing a major role in the party going forward.
In the meantime, the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is set for next week in Orlando, showed it’s firmly in the 45th President’s corner with a line-up of pro-Trump conservative speakers. President Trump himself has been confirmed to speak, as well.
BREAKING – President Trump will be speaking at CPAC. @OANN will provide full coverage with multiple reporters in Orlando, FL for live coverage.
— Charles (@CharlesPHerring) February 20, 2021