Trump, Other Potential 2024 GOP Hopefuls Gathering In Florida This Weekend For A Major Donor Retreat
Former President Donald Trump Donald Trump, other potential presidential candidates and the wealthiest contributors and biggest fundraisers of the GOP are gathering this weekend in Palm Beach and at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) closed-door donor retreat.
The event this weekend is being held at the Four Seasons resort in Palm Beach – but it will move to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Saturday evening – where the former president will deliver a keynote speech which is expected to raise millions.
Republican leaders and donors are descending on Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend for a private donor retreat headlined by former Pres. Trump. https://t.co/6ajaMsnryc
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 9, 2021
Reports said more than half a dozen of 2024 presidential hopefuls are also expected to show up and mingle with the party’s biggest donors and power brokers including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as Senators Tom Cotton (Arkansas) and Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio both from Florida.
Trump, who has hinted on a possible 2024 run will also be speaking at the conference.
Among speakers at RNC donor retreat in Palm Beach this weekend: Trump, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Steve Daines, Todd Young, Rick Scott, Ron DeSantis, Kristi Noem, Kevin McCarthy, Tom Emmer, Mike Pompeo, Kellyanne Conway and others.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) April 7, 2021
choose your fighter pic.twitter.com/RYj7e0KcDF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 9, 2021
Henry Barbour, a longtime RNC committee member – who helps lead the committee’s small-dollar fundraising apparatus – told Fox News that the bunch of Republican lawmakers could be testing the waters for a possible run.
“That’s campaign 101. If you’re thinking about running in ’24, you want to meet with not only the most important donors, but the most important fundraisers, because so many of these donors are able to go out and raise money well beyond what they can personally give,” Barbour said.
He noted that “the same is true” for the members of the RNC committee.
“These are the activists and grassroots leaders of the party in their states. So these are important people to meet if you’re thinking about ’24,” he added.
While the appearance of former President Trump and some potential White House hopefuls is sure to grab attention – organizers noted that the main point of the gathering is for the RNC to lay out its plans to donors in terms of expanding the GOP and the role that donors could play.
The Republican Party may also tackle efforts to regain the White House and majority of Congress from Democrats in the upcoming 2022 election.
Fox News said the transfer of the venue to Mar-a-Lago on the day two of the event shows that the former president “continues to sway” the GOP, more than two months after he left the White House.
“The party is bigger than any one candidate. Clearly, Donald Trump is a big force in the Republican Party but I think the key for us moving forward and winning elections, particularly national elections, is to focus on our conservative principles and ideas and being a party that practices the politics of addition rather than division,” Barbour said.
The former president has shown massive fundraising turnout even after departing the White House – which others see as a competitive threat to the RNC’s own fundraising.
“Fox News confirmed that Save America, the former president’s leadership PAC, has a massive $85 million cash on hand,” the outlet wrote.
Meanwhile, reports noted that the RNC has an estimate of $80 million cash on hand at the beginning of the year, based on data from the Federal Election Commission.
Last month, former President Trump moved to stop funds from going to Republican candidates who were critical of him — but continue to benefit from fundraising activities using his name and likeness.
Trump’s lawyers demanded that the RNC, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — telling them to halt using Trump’s name in fundraising activities.
The PAC told RNC and the others to “immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image, and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech.”
The cease-and-desist letter from Trump's lawyers was sent to the RNC and other GOP campaign committees on March 5 asking them to stop using his name and likeness in their fundraising materials. https://t.co/b27RUIzQjh
— KGUN 9 On Your Side (@kgun9) March 9, 2021
The former president then sent an email to his supporters urging them to ensure that their donations go to political action committees (PACs) directly tied to him instead of those that continue to support GOP members who were critical of him – including those that voted along with Democrats during the impeachment push against him.
“No more money for RINOS,” Trump said, referring to the acronym he uses to refer to “Republicans in name only.”
“They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base — they will never lead us to Greatness,” Trump said, telling his supporters to course their donations through his “Save America PAC” instead, which he will use to help handpicked Republican candidates in the 2022 congressional elections.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller earlier said that the former President Trump is considering forming a super PAC, allowing it to raise unlimited funds from any sources.
Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller confirmed that the former President is considering forming a super PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from virtually any source and faces no limits on spending.https://t.co/1ofvmrM51q
— CNN (@CNN) February 28, 2021
The PAC, reports said “could be a brand new entity” for the Republican Party imbibing Trump’s “America First” policy pitch.