Former President Donald Trump is expected to soon begin meeting with potential midterm challengers to Republicans who have crossed him, ensuring that every open GOP seat during the 2022 midterms has a MAGA-endorsed candidate in the ring, according to a Politico report on Saturday.
People familiar with the ex-president’s planning told Politico that Trump has been fielding requests from prospective candidates seeking to appear at Mar-a-Lago to secure his endorsement and that formal meetings with those candidates could begin as early as March.
The development comes as Trump prepares to speak next Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, where he is expected to address the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, according to a CNN report.
Jason Miller a senior Trump adviser told Politico, that Trump had plans to expand beyond meetings that so far have been limited to golf friends, Mar-a-Lago members and “folks with the ability to contact him themselves.”
“We are in the process of putting together a more formal schedule for candidates who want to come get his endorsement,” he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had suggested to Fox News earlier this week that the former president remained the “most dominant figure in the Republican Party,” and the GOP’s best chance at winning back a majority in 2022.
“We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump,” Graham said.
Graham is expected to be among the Republican members paying a visit to Trump at his Palm Beach resort this weekend to discuss his own plans and the former president’s desire to push for voter reforms. The visit follows earlier trips made by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) this week and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who met with the ex-president last month.
On Saturday, Trump is also expected to make an appearance at a fundraising dinner for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) with anticipated appearances from Trump loyalists Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) according to an event invitation.
Trump had previously blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for condemning his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — a point that McConnell had further hammered in an op-ed that ran in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
In a statement later that day, a sour Trump called the minority leader a “political hack,” and suggested that if Republican senators chose to stick with the top Senate Republican they will not win again.”
“Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First,” Trump warned at the time.