No one much cared what Trump's speech writers put into his canned remarks. What GOP officials dreaded and what the guests could barely wait for, were his off-script remarks. And that's what you want too, right? Too bad there are no YouTubes (yet). It was a "secret" confab between the Republican political establishment and the Republican fat cats-- a weekend donor retreat. And last night Trump did not disappoint, referring to Mitch McConnell as a "dumb son of a bitch" and a "stone cold loser," falsely claiming McConnell was reelected because of his efforts, and he even threw in an attack against McConnell's wife, his own Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, as well.
No one even more than passively noticed his rote attack against Fauci but he did clearly indicate that he is no Mike Pence fan.
The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey reported this morning that Señor Trumpanzee "excoriated a number of Republicans even as he publicly called for party unity.
The speech was light on his actual presidency, which some aides had wanted him to address, and delivered more of a familiar litany of grievances that seemed to animate the crowd. Many of his claims were false or misleading.
He did not directly address his 2024 plans-- other than to express confidence about the Republican nominee winning-- an attendee said, preferring instead to look back at the last election.
He reiterated many of his false claims soon after beginning his remarks and dove into particular states in detail, such as Georgia and Pennsylvania, continuing to claim he won them and attacking politicians such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R). He spoke for about an hour, according to an attendee, and bragged that he had tossed his prepared and “boring” speech, the attendee said. “Bullshit,” he said about the election, before polling the room of Republican donors on whether they believed he won.
He falsely said most Democrats also believe he won but just won’t say so out loud, an attendee said.
Trump said the crowd at his rally preceding the Capitol attack was so large-- falsely claiming that “some people say it was over a million people”-- because supporters were upset about fraud and said he was “disappointed” in Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the election later that day. He expressed no regret about his actions on that day, nor about those of the Capitol rioters.
“I wish that Mike Pence had the courage to send it back to the legislatures… I like him so much. I was so disappointed,” Trump said.
The Republican Party paid more than $100,000 to the former president’s club to hold the event there, with the rest of the festivities at the nearby Four Seasons resort. McConnell was not there, and he has not spoken to Trump in months, telling advisers he never plans to speak to him again.
Trump attacked many of his favorite targets, such as Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading epidemiologist, even mocking Fauci for his first pitch last season at Nationals Park-- a frequent Trump taunt. He falsely claimed that Fauci only received credit because he opposed Trump, an attendee said, and joked that Fauci wanted people to wear five masks after not initially supporting masks.
“Have you ever seen anybody that is so full of crap?” he said of Fauci.
The former president said, without saying who, that someone recently suggested to him that the vaccine should be called the “Trumpcine.” He bragged about his handling of the pandemic, dismissing the widespread criticism of his approach and not mentioning the more than 500,000 who have died of covid-19.
He praised Republicans who have ignored public health concerns about opening and reopening their states, such as South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Reprising an attack from the day he launched his campaign in 2015, he called immigrants “murderers, rapists and drug dealers.”
“They’re coming in from the Middle East. They’re not sending their best people. You have murderers, you have rapists, you have drug dealers,” Trump said.
He again said he was impeached “over a perfect phone call” and said he was jealous of Democrats for sticking together to vote against him. He said Republicans needed to be just as unified.
“We can’t have these guys that like publicity,” he said.
UPDATE: Somehow GOP Politicians we're Expecting Trump's Divisive Speech
Where have they been for the last 5 years? This morning, Politico reported that "several Republican leaders" were concerned about the incendiary nature of Trump's speech last night. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on State of the Union: "Anything that's divisive is a concern and is not helpful for us fighting the battles in Washington and at the state level. In some ways, it's not a big deal, what he said, but, at the same time, whenever it draws attention, we don't need that. We need unity." Liz Cheney was on Face the Nation and told the viewers that Trump used "the same language that he knows provoked violence on Jan. 6. As a party, we need to be focused on the future. We need to be focused on embracing the Constitution, not embracing insurrection. I think it's very important for people to realize that a fundamental part of the Constitution, and of who we are as Americans, is the rule of law, it's the judicial process."