According to the "CBS News"

Feb 23, 2021

Tuesday, Mar 09, 2021 - 02:42:24

Trump to attend GOP's spring donor retreat

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Former President Trump is scheduled to attend the Republican National Committee's spring donor retreat in Florida this April, according to a Republican familiar with the situation and an invitation obtained by CBS News.

Mr. Trump's planned appearance at the gathering with top GOP donors was first reported by Politico.

CBS News reported in January that the RNC was planning to invite the former president to the event. 

The retreat offers potential 2024 candidates to make their case to deep-pocketed party donors. According to the invitation, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Florida Senator Rick Scott, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are among those also scheduled to attend. 

The former president's appearance comes as GOP leaders debate what his role in the future of the party should be. 

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel is scheduled to meet with Mr. Trump this week, a source confirmed to CBS News. She is one of his allies and was unanimously re-elected RNC Chair in January. McDaniel has pledged to stay neutral in the 2024 primary and told The Associated Press in January that she wants to see the former president help Republicans in the 2022 midterms.

The Senate recently voted to acquit Mr. Trump of inciting the January 6 riot at the Capitol in his second impeachment trial. State and local Republican parties have censured some of the Senate Republicans who voted to convict Mr. Trump.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he voted to acquit Mr. Trump because he believed it was unconstitutional to convict a former president. After the trial, McConnell gave a searing speech on the Senate floor and said the former president was "morally and practically responsible" for the riot. 

Mr. Trump shot back at McConnell in a statement days later, calling the minority leader, "a dour, sullen, & unsmiling political hack." He pledged to back primary candidates who support his political agenda "where necessary and appropriate."

While some factions of the Republican Party are exploring ways to move beyond Mr. Trump, polls conducted after the January 6 attack at the Capitol have shown the former president still has a strong base of support within the Republican Party.

A recent CBS News poll found 73% of Republicans said it was very or somewhat important that Republicans show loyalty to Mr. Trump. A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted after the impeachment trial found 81% of Republicans approve of Mr. Trump. An Economist/YouGov poll published this week found 48% of Republicans wouldn't vote for a congressional or gubernatorial candidate who is critical of Mr. Trump. 

Mr. Trump is scheduled to make his first public speech since leaving office on Sunday at CPAC, a conservative political conference. A source told CBS News that the former president is expected to discuss the future of the Republican Party and may attack some of President Biden's policies.

The former president's hold over the GOP was evident when CBS News received responses from only five out of 50 GOP senators last about whether they agreed with Mr. Trump's claims that he had won the election, which he is still repeating, and whether they support Senator Mitch McConnell as Republican minority leader.

Several top Republicans have traveled to Florida or spoken with the former president since he left office. The top two House Republicans have visited him at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Florida Senator Rick Scott, who is chair of the Senate Republicans' campaign arm, told reporters on Tuesday that he has also spoken with Mr. Trump about his efforts in the midterm elections. 

"I told him I want to win in '22, and said I'm going to be very specific about where I think he could be helpful, and he gets to make the decision whether he wants to do it or not," Scott said. 

Weijia Jiang and Alan He contributed to this report.

News Source: CBS News

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Hillary Clinton says she hopes GOP will find its soul

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction Jill Biden redefines role of first lady MORE criticized the current state of the Republican party on Monday, denouncing the GOP for what she described as cult-like allegiance to former President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE.

“They’ve done a calculation. They’ve concluded Trump is the puppet master who pulls the strings of the hardcore base of the Republican Party,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said in a Washington Post Live interview. “They’re just throwing the towel in.”

She said she hopes the party will “find its soul, will find its center again and understand they can’t keep playing with fire.”

Clinton referred to the party as a “cult” when discussing the fear among Republican lawmakers that if they turn against Trump, they will receive a primary opponent.

“It is really troubling to see the Republican Party turn themselves into a cult, and basically pledge allegiance not to the United States of America but to Donald Trump,” Clinton said.

These comments came just hours after Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntBiden gets involved to help break Senate logjam Top Republican: 'Outrageous' to extend National Guard deployment at Capitol Five takeaways from dramatic Capitol security hearing MORE (R-Mo.) announced that he would not seek reelection in 2022, becoming the latest prominent Senate Republican to announce retirement.

Clinton zeroed in on these retiring lawmakers, saying they “don’t have the stomach anymore to stand up and fight against extremism in their own party.”

The frequent Trump critic also said that after the 2016 election she hoped Trump would “once in office, understand the enormity of the job, have some of that sense of humility that presidents need to have when they’re in the Oval Office.”

But "he never grew into the job. He never accepted the awesome responsibility that goes with being president,” the former secretary of State said.

Clinton also weighed in on the debate over ending the filibuster. 

“We have a minority that is becoming more and more extreme that is basically holding the majority — not just of Congress but of the country — back,” Clinton said. 

She said she is “encouraged there are conversations about whether, if [the filibuster is] not done away with completely, it can be modified.”

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