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Trump lashes out at January 6 committee as he teases 2024 race

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Making his first public appearance since the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection began hearings, laying bare his desperate attempts to overthrow democracy and stay in power, former President Trump s went wild on Friday as he continued to tease his plans for a third Presidential Court.

Speaking to religious conservatives at a sprawling complex near the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Trump called the theater production committees’ efforts partisan political fiction and insisted he had done nothing wrong. wrong.

What you see is a complete and utter lie. It’s a complete and utter fraud, he told Faith and Freedom Coalitions’ Road to Majority conference. He dismissed the harrowing video footage and searing testimony presented by the committee, including first-hand accounts from senior aides and family members, as selectively edited. And he downplayed the insurrection as a simple protest that escalated.

Trump’s appearance at an event long known as a testing ground for presidential hopefuls comes as he actively weighs when he might officially launch another White House campaign. The debate, according to people familiar with the discussions, is over whether to make an announcement this summer or early fall or, in keeping with tradition, wait until after November’s midterm elections.

While allies insist he hasn’t made a decision yet, Trump has been broadcasting his intentions for months and continues to tease them on Friday.

One of the most pressing tasks of the next Republican president, I wonder who it will be, Trump said at one point, prompting a standing ovation and chants from the United States!

Does anyone want me to run for president? he asked the crowd, sparking more cheers.

We don’t know whether he will run or not, said Ralph Reed, president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, although certainly, given his speech, I think he wanted to let everyone know that this was his plan.

Trump has spent the past year and a half holding rallies, giving speeches and using his endorsements to exact revenge and further shape the party in his image. But some fans say the former president, who decamped for the summer from his Florida club Mar-a-Lago to Bedminster, NJ, is growing impatient.

Though he savored his role as party kingmaker with candidates nearly begging for his approval and racking up big tabs at fundraisers in his ballrooms, Trump misses the days when he was actually king. especially as he watches Democratic President Biden struggle with low approval ratings. and runaway inflation.

I think a lot of Trump’s future plans are directly based on Biden, and I think the more Biden continues to stumble on the world stage and on the national stage, people forget about the downsides, the dark side of Trump’s presidency, has said Bryan Lanza, a GOP strategist and former Trump campaign official.

An announcement in the near future could complicate efforts by other ambitious Republicans to mount their own campaigns. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who was an ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, said she would not run against him.

There are also fears that a short-lived announcement could hurt Republicans in the home stretch of a midterm congressional campaign that looks increasingly pro-party. A Trump candidacy could unite otherwise dispirited Democratic voters, rekindling the energy that lifted the party during the 2018 and 2020 campaigns.

Republicans want the November election framed as a referendum on the first two years of Bidens presidency. They don’t want anything, including Trump, to get them out of this trajectory.

Regardless of his decision, the aura of inevitability that Trump sought to create from the moment he left the White House was pierced. A long list of other Republicans laid the groundwork for their own potential campaigns, and some made it clear that a Trump candidacy would have little sway over their decisions.

Among them is former Trump Vice President Mike Pence, who was hailed by the Jan. 6 committee as someone who put the national interest ahead of his own political considerations.

Considering a bid for the White House, Pence maintains a busy political calendar aimed at drawing attention to Democratic vulnerabilities. But his challenges were thrown into sharp relief on Friday as Trump continued to criticize him for not following through on his plan to overturn the 2020 election results.

While he denied ever calling Pence a wimp, Trump railed against his former vice president, saying Mike lacked the guts to act. It drew applause from a crowd in front of which Pence, an evangelical Christian, spoke on several occasions.

Reed, who described himself as a dear friend of Pence, declined to comment on the split, but said the former vice president had been asked to appear at the conference.

If Mike Pence wanted to come and offer a cue to these people, he could have, he said.

Beyond Pence, other possible candidates, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have indicated that their decisions do not rest with Trumps. And others are making strides, including former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Florida Sen. Rick Scott and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, all of whom were appearing at the conference, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is seen by many Trump loyalists. supporters as the future of his movement.

Although it’s increasingly clear that Trump won’t go unchallenged to the GOP nomination, a wide range of candidates could work to his advantage. The dynamic is beginning to resemble the 2016 campaign, when Trump faced a large and unwieldy group of candidates who split the anti-Trump vote.

Were going to be in pretty uncharted waters, Reed said. So I would tend to think it’s not going to be the same kind of primary as, say, 16. It would seem to me that he would be potentially stronger in this primary by having been a former president and having had this record. … On the other hand, it’s not 2020. He’s going to have a primary. And he will not be the outgoing president. And depending on who chooses to race, it will be different for them too. He will have to plead the cause of these voters.

Indeed, despite the public cheers, many conference attendees expressed skepticism about a third Trump run.

I do not know. Juries are always with me, said Jonathan Goodwin, a minister who works as an organizer for the Faith and Freedom Coalition in South Carolina. I like him, but I think he shot himself in the foot too many times.

Goodwin said he was definitely concerned about the 2020 election, but did not support Trump’s handling of the situation.

I think he should have gracefully retired, he said, whether it was rigged or not.

Illinois conservative Pam Roehl, who arrived at the conference on Friday wearing a baseball cap and a Trump necklace, said she still supports the former president but increasingly finds herself in the minority among friends who have moved on, tossing their bumper stickers and kissing DeSantis.

They are, in a way, Get with the program. Why don’t you support DeSantis? she says.

Sources

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2/ https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-06-17/trump-lashes-out-at-jan-6-committee-as-he-teases-2024-run

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