GOP donors and lawmakers reportedly discussed how to tackle big tech during an RNC event at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort

trump grifting
The event took place at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

  • Key GOP players discussed the future of big tech and social media at the RNC donors’ summit, CNBC reported.
  • Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told the publication he spoke to attendees about bias in social media.
  • Republicans and social media sites are at loggerheads over blockings and content moderation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Key Republican figures spent some of the weekend mulling plans for the future of big tech at former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, according to a report by CNBC.

The gathering last weekend saw Republican donors, lawmakers, and strategists discuss their plans for tackling big tech, social media, and corporate America last weekend, the publication reported.

Attendees discussed a “strategy on social media and big tech,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and attendee at the retreat, told the publication.

CNBC reported that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said he had taken part in conversations about “concern over bias and growing power of media and social media.”

The two groups have been at loggerheads over what Republicans see as the restriction of free speech and the social media platforms see as the removal of hate speech and misinformation from their sites.

After the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, social media giants rushed to crack down on Trump and his supporters, with Facebook and Twitter both suspending Trump’s accounts.

Twitter also purged 70,000 accounts associated with QAnon, blocked the accounts of Trump allies including Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, and suspended the accounts of both Mike Lindell and his company MyPillow after he used them to spread voter-fraud conspiracy theories.

Many Trump supporters flocked to right-wing network Parler instead, but it was temporarily booted offlinee after its web host Amazon Web Services cut ties.

But Republicans are fighting back against the social media crackdown. Both Trump and Lindell are planning on launching their own platforms, and major Republican donor Roy Bailey told CNBC that he is interested in investing in a site where conservatives wouldn’t have to “worry about censorship.”

The discussions happened during the Republican National Committee’s donor summit, which was held largely at a Four Seasons hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

The invite-only event lets Republican candidates mingle the party’s donors as they discuss the GOP’s strategy and direction.

The group headed to Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night for a speech from Trump, where he reportedly insulted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and asked people to call the COVID-19 vaccine “Trumpcine.”

Schlapp told the publication that some attendees at the Mar-a-Lago event said they were “being cancelled” by insurance companies and banks and thought they weren’t being denied services because banks thought their businesses were too conservative.

He told CNBC that most of the conversations at Mar-a-Lago were “informal” and that the plans were still developing.

At other points during the RNC retreat, Florida Senator Marco Rubio criticized big tech companies over how they treat their staff and seemed to encourage GOP leaders to attract more support from union workers in the 2022 midterm elections, people briefed on the matter told CNBC.

In mid-March, Rubio became the first GOP senator to publicly endorse efforts by Amazon workers to form a union.

He wrote for USA Today that the tech giant had “waged a war against working-class values.”

Support for the unionization effort, which ultimately was defeated, came largely from Democrat lawmakers including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

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Trump predicts that the GOP will retake Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024

donald trump mar a lago covid
Former President Donald Trump.

  • Former President Donald Trump on Saturday addressed the RNC donor summit in Florida.
  • The former president expressed confidence that the GOP would regain control of Congress in 2022.
  • He also said that “a Republican candidate” would win the White House in 2024.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday expressed optimism that Republicans would regain control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections and win back the White House in 2024, according to prepared remarks obtained by the Associated Press.

In a keynote address at the Republican National Committee’s donor summit in Florida, Trump did not explicitly say if he would be a candidate in 2024, but float the idea of a potential candidacy, according to an attendee who spoke with CBS News.

While the closed-door summit was mostly held at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, attendees were taken to the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort to hear him speak.

“We are gathered tonight to talk about the future of the Republican Party – and what we must do to set our candidates on a course to victory,” Trump’s prepared remarks said. “I stand before you this evening filled with confidence that in 2022, we are going to take back the House and we are going to reclaim the Senate – and then in 2024, a Republican candidate is going to win the White House.”

Read more: Visa’s PAC gave politicians $139,000 in March after vowing to pause contributions because of the Capitol insurrection

Trump also lodged attacks at his successor, President Joe Biden, accusing him of pursuing an “unpopular” legislative agenda and criticizing the increase in unaccompanied children that have been arriving at the US-Mexico border.

“With an agenda this unpopular, it is no wonder that Joe Biden is the first new president in modern times not to address a joint session of Congress within his first few weeks,” according to the former president’s prepared remarks.

Trump, along with top GOP leaders, have reportedly expressed confidence that Republicans can win back control of Congress by hammering Biden over his immigration policies.

The former president championed hardline immigration policies and the construction of a southern border wall throughout his tenure in office and during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

Biden has sought to move away from the more aggressive family separation policies that defined the Trump years.

The GOP summit comes as Republicans find themselves shut out of power in Washington DC, with Biden in the White House and Democrats in control of both the House and the Senate, albeit with slim majorities.

In attendance were several potential 2024 GOP candidates that would likely launch campaigns in the event that Trump declines to run, including Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, along with Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

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An Ohio GOP Senate candidate reportedly crashed an RNC donor retreat and was escorted out

Josh Mandel
Ohio GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel.

  • Josh Mandel, running for a vacant Ohio Senate seat, got escorted out of a donor retreat over the weekend.
  • The retreat was hosted by the Republican National Committee and offered candidates coveted opportunities to mingle with donors.
  • There were also opportunities to schmooze with GOP leaders like former President Donald Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Security removed Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel from a donor retreat hosted by the Republican National Committee, Axios reported.

The retreat, which took place over the weekend in a Palm Beach, Florida, hotel, welcomed guests on an invitation-only basis. Mandel did not have an invitation and crashed the event, according to Axios.

While he was booted from the event, his main opponent, Jane Timken, got to stay and was invited “because she is a major donor,” an unnamed source told Axios.

The event, which began on Friday, provides a prime chance for Republican candidates to mingle with some of the party’s biggest donors.

Axios also points out that event attendees got access to major GOP figures, including former President Donald Trump. On Saturday night, the group headed to Mar-a-Lago, where Trump currently lives. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was also slated to speak to the group, Axios reported. DeSantis is believed to be considering a 2024 run at the presidency.

By getting booted from the retreat, Mandel loses not only a chance to capitalize on key donor power, but also time to schmooze with the former president and GOP mainstays. It also puts Timken in the spotlight in a contested race for a vacant Senate seat.

Both Mandel and Timken have been fighting for Trump’s endorsement, according to Axios. His endorsement could go a long way in their Senate race to replace Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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