In the aftermath of Joe Biden’s inauguration there has been intense speculation about former President Donald Trump’s plans for the future and whether he intends to remain actively involved in national politics as a Republican or otherwise.
Trump himself provided some clarification on those questions Sunday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in which he stated that, despite some earlier rumors to the contrary, he will not be launching a new political party, as Fox News reported.
The rift between the Trump loyalists and establishment members of the Republican party has come into stark relief in recent weeks, particularly after GOP 10 House members voted to impeach the the former president for a second time, and seven senators within the party voted for his conviction. That, combined with intraparty condemnation of Trump’s actions in the wake of the Jan. 6 unrest at the Capitol sparked additional talk of a possible split.
Trump himself, however, put the issue to rest at CPAC, flatly declaring, “I am not starting a new party. That was fake news,” according to Fox News, also promising that the Democrats face the prospect of “withering losses” in the 2022 midterm elections and that “a Republican president” will return to the White House thereafter, as Politico reported.
The former president remains highly popular among wide swaths of the GOP, winning the CPAC straw poll handily with 55% of the vote, compared to the 21% support garnered by the second-place finisher, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as Fox News reported.
However, there remain several prominent Republican voices who have publicly urged the GOP to permanently sever ties with Trump, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who recently declared that the former president does “not have a role as a leader of our party going forward,” as The Hill noted.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has added his voice to those in the GOP harshly critical of Trump, asserting earlier this month that he was “practically and morally responsible” for instigating unrest at the Capitol in January and accusing Trump of being “determined to…torch our institutions on the way out.”
Despite his declared intention to remain firmly within the Republican fold, Trump did take the occasion of the CPAC speech to call out those in the party he feels have been especially disloyal, including “Little Ben Sasse,” of Nebraska, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Cheney, to whom the former president referred to as a “warmonger.” However, he also characterized the internal strife as limited in nature and “between a handful of Washington, D.C. establishment political hacks and everybody else all over the country.”
Time will tell whether voters agree with Trump’s take on the state of party unity and will continue to look to him for leadership heading into the midterms and beyond.