Trump’s 2024 rival woos his donor at big Las Vegas convention

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Republican freshman class of 2024 was as emboldened as ever on Friday, publicly calling Donald Trump a “loser” over and over again as they pitched to donors and activists For help, they worry about the future of the Republican Party under the former president.

Trump’s outspoken critics, including current and former Republican governors, members of his own cabinet and major donors, gathered on the Las Vegas Strip in what organizers said was an extraordinary event for the next presidential primary. Officially begin. It was a remarkable display of defiance for a party that has been almost exclusively loyal to Trump for the past six years.

“Maybe there was a little blood in the water and the shark was circling,” the Maryland governor said. Republican presidential candidate Larry Hogan himself and frequent Trump critic said in an interview. “I don’t think we’ve ever gotten to this point before.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting began Friday, just days after Trump became the first candidate to formally launch his 2024 campaign. His allies hoped his early announcement would stave off a tough primary challenge, but several potential candidates said it was a challenge after Trump’s supporters lost midterm elections in swing states from Arizona to Pennsylvania last week. Not too possible. His already weakened political standing within the Republican party slipped further.

Before Friday night’s speech, Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state under Trump, mocked one of his former bosses’ catchphrases: “We’re told we’re going to get tired of winning. But I’m tired of losing.”

“Personality, celebrity doesn’t get it done,” he said later on the ballroom stage.

Trump is scheduled to speak at the weekend gathering via video conference on Saturday. The vast majority of high-profile Republican officials considering a run for the White House in 2024 attended the two-day meeting in person, which included a series of private donor meetings and public speaking engagements.

The show featured Trump’s main rivals, DeSantis, and Pence, with Trump accusing Pence of not overturning the 2020 election. Other speakers included Hogan, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, and the governor of New Hampshire. Chris Sununu and the Florida Senator. Rick Scott.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, another potential 2024 contender, withdrew his appearance after Sunday’s University of Virginia shooting that left three people dead.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Kevin McCarthy) will also become the speaker of the House of Representatives when the Republicans take over in January.

There appears to be little sympathy for Trump’s latest legal challenge.

Hours before Friday’s opening dinner, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special prosecutor Overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation into the existence of classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate, as well as key aspects of a separate investigation involving Jan. 1. On January 6, 2021, the uprising and efforts to withdraw the 2020 elections.

New Hampshire Gov. Sununu, who easily won re-election last week, said there was no sign his party would stand up for Trump this time around.

“These are the problems he’s trying to solve,” Sununu said. “Everyone is going to sit down and watch the show. It’s not just his supporters — it’s his money, it’s the donors, it’s the fundraisers,” said the Republican governor, who won re-election easily last week. “We just keep going.”

With a loyal base of support among ordinary voters and a massive fundraiser featuring small donations, Trump doesn’t need a major donor or party leader to secure the Republican nomination for a third time. But the reluctance of deep-pocketed Republicans to commit to him — at least for now — could make his return to the White House harder.

In the hallways and conference rooms of the weekend party, few signs of enthusiasm for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign were visible. At the Friday night dinner, organizers offered attendees yarmulkes with Trump’s name on them, but few accepted them.

Even as Jewish Republicans continue to praise Trump’s commitment to Israel while in the White House.

“There is no question that President Trump’s achievements in strengthening U.S.-Israel relations over four years are unparalleled. He is the most pro-Israel president ever,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

But this time might not be enough to win over the league’s top donors.

“For many of the people at this meeting, it’s about the future,” Brooks said. “For some of them, President Trump may be their answer. For others, they’re interested in what other people have to say.”

Chris Christie, the state of New Jersey, addressed Trump’s political failures Thursday at a private dinner with the group’s major donors. In subsequent interviews, he didn’t hold back.

“He’s a loser right now, in my opinion. He’s an electoral loser,” said Christie, another 2024 candidate. “Looking at the average voter, I don’t think there’s a single Democrat who can beat him because he’s toxic to suburban voters on a personal level right now, and he deserves it.”

The annual event, held at the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip, honors Sheldon Adelson, a longtime Republican Jewish League benefactor, the billionaire casino tycoon who died last year. His wife, Miriam Adelson, remains a fundraising force within the Republican Party, even though her giving levels of more than $20 million have scaled back in the recent midterm elections.

Israeli-born Miriam Adelson, 76, is “neutral” in the Republican 2024 presidential primary, according to Andy Abboud, the family’s longtime political gatekeeper .

She is not alone.

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress and heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune, supported Trump’s previous campaign but has no plans to support him in 2024, according to a Lauder spokesman.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, a longtime Trump supporter and chairman and chief executive of the investment firm Blackstone, told Axios this week that he would back someone in a “new generation” of Republicans. Hedge fund billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin has publicly endorsed DeSantis.

On Friday, airline industry chief executive Philip Friedman called himself a “strong Trump supporter” but said he was open to hearing from others.

“There are several other people who have his policies, but no luggage,” Friedman said of Trump.

In his keynote address, Pence focused mostly on the Trump administration’s achievements, but also included some indirect attacks on the former president.

“To win the future,” Pence said, “as Republicans and elected leaders, we must do more than criticize and complain.”

He was more direct in interviews this week.

“I think we’re going to have better options in 2024,” Pence told The Associated Press. “And I’m very confident that Republican primary voters will make an informed choice.”


Associated Press writer Michelle Price in New York contributed.

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