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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When George W. Bush left the White House in 2009, he vowed to follow in his father’s footsteps and disappear. He said it would be inconsiderate to his successor to become a back-seat driver, second guessing the new president.

But Donald Trump made no such promise, and while no one knows whether he’ll run for the White House again in 2024, his “Make America Great Again” rallies will return soon, according to one of his top advisers.


Jason Miller told Axios last week that Mr. Trump plans to restart his massive rallies “as soon as late spring or early summer” with an eye on supporting his chosen Republican candidates in the midterm elections in 2022.

Mr. Miller, in response to a news story headlined “Brace yourself: Trump’s MAGA rallies are coming back,” wrote on Twitter: “Yes … yes they are!”

Mr. Miller said the former president, who will turn 75 next month, “has already begun to vet and endorse candidates for 2022, with an eye toward electing not just Republican candidates, but America First Republican candidates.”

“His endorsement lifts candidates above the pack and often clears the primary field,” Mr. Miller said. “The general election endorsement provides access to ‘Trump voters’ not normally accessible to Republicans.”

For the midterms, Mr. Trump sees himself as a kingmaker. He has already endorsed more than a dozen 2022 endorsements, endorsing incumbent Republican Sens. Ron Johnson, John Kennedy and Tim Scott, as well as some GOP challengers. Those include Rep. Jody Hice, who’s running to unseat Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who wrangled with Mr. Trump after the 2020 presidential election.

Mr. Trump has also endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks, Alabama Republican, to take over for retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Arkansas governor.

During his stint in the White House, Mr. Trump held more than 150 rallies, according to one tally. The rallies drew millions of Americans across the nation, greatly eclipsing Joe Biden’s drawing power during the 2020 campaign.

Among those Mr. Trump is heavily targeting is Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who voted in January to impeach him. Mr. Miller told The Washington Post on Saturday that ousting Ms. Cheney is a top priority:

Among those Mr. Trump is heavily targeting is Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who voted in January to impeach him. Mr. Miller told The Washington Post on Saturday that ousting Ms. Cheney is a top priority.

“The backlash to Liz Cheney’s focus on Trump has been fierce. As recently as Monday, Trump met with his advisers in Florida to discuss 2022 endorsements, according to people familiar with the meeting,” the Post wrote. 

“One of Trump’s major priorities was to pick a single candidate from the ever-expanding ranks of Republican rivals in Wyoming who are seeking to run against her, so the anti-Cheney vote is not divided. Trump political advisers have already begun making calls to officials in Wyoming, circulating polling memos and meeting with potential candidates. Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, said knocking off Cheney was ‘one of the highest priorities as far as primary endorsements go,’” the paper continued. 

Mr. Trump has long hit Ms. Cheney, who faces a vote Wednesday that likely will remove her from her leadership role as chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Last week, Mr. Trump said in a statement: “Heartwarming to read new polls on big-shot warmonger Liz Cheney of the great State of Wyoming. She is so low that her only chance would be if vast numbers of people run against her which, hopefully, won’t happen. They never liked her much, but I say she’ll never run in a Wyoming election again!”

Then on Monday, Mr. Trump added: “The House GOP has a massive opportunity to upgrade this week from warmonger Liz Cheney to gifted communicator Elise Stefanik. Elise has intelligence, an endorsement from American Patriot Brandon Judd and the National Border Patrol Council, she has an A+ from the NRA, and she loves our Veterans. We need someone in Leadership who has experience flipping districts from Blue to Red as we approach the important 2022 midterms, and that’s Elise! She knows how to win, which is what we need!”

So Donald Trump is back, big time.

Only time will tell whether Mr. Trump still has clout to affect races in 2022. But should his endorsees win, look for him to make a run again in 2024. 

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.


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