- Trump is returning to the rally circuit this summer with a tried-and-tested set of grievances.
- He reportedly plans to attack Dr. Fauci and repeat conspiracies about the 2020 election.
- Trump will speak at a North Carolina GOP dinner on Saturday and then a Texas CPAC event in July.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Former President Donald Trump plans to reprise his set of greatest hits as he prepares to return to the rally circuit: going after Dr. Anthony Fauci and harping on his grievances about his 2020 election loss, according to Axios and CNN, respectively.
Trump has been laying low since leaving the White House, and tried running a short-lived blog after being de-platformed from social media. As the 2022 midterms approach, however, he is reportedly gearing up to resume regular public appearances for the GOP.
Trump is making his first public speech in months at a North Carolina Republican Party dinner on Saturday. He’s then set to appear at CPAC Texas, a major conservative conference to be held in Dallas from July 9-11.
With the GOP struggling to land successful attacks on President Joe Biden, Trump plans to most heavily target Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, in the same way that he fixated on 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for years after defeating her.
“People see Anthony Fauci and they think of shuttered businesses, lost school,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Axios.
Trump and other conservatives have criticized Fauci’s decisions throughout the pandemic. But recently, Republican politicians and powerful conservative media figures have begun hammering Fauci anew. They are accusing him of mishandling and downplaying the theory that COVID-19 may have leaked out of a lab in Wuhan, China, instead of jumping from animals to humans at a wet market.
The so-called lab leak theory is receiving fresh scrutiny from the scientific community and the Biden administration, which has ordered the intelligence community to produce a report on COVID-19’s origins by the end of the summer.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Trump remains obsessed with his 2020 election loss and is paying close attention to ongoing ballot recount efforts in Maricopa County, Arizona. He is following news out of Arizona religiously and pushing for similar ballot reviews in Georgia and Pennsylvania, per The Post.
Trump has also latched onto a conspiracy theory that a bombshell Supreme Court case brought by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell will result in the court overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election and reinstating him as president by August, according to The Post, The New York Times, and the National Review. This, despite the fact that there is no constitutional mechanism for either of those things to happen.
Election integrity and election policy are now core issues for much of the GOP. Not all Republicans, however, are thrilled about the prospect of Trump returning to his rally tour, CNN reported, with many concerned that Trump sucking up oxygen for his personal grievances will drag down the party going into 2022.
CNN and Politico have reported that behind the scenes, people close to Trump, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, acknowledge that getting Trump to drop the election fraud grievances altogether is a lost cause. But they are working with him on substantive policy messaging for the GOP in 2022 that he can also incorporate into his speeches.
Trump playing a kingmaker role in 2022 could also cause headaches for some GOP figures. As The Post noted, acquiescing to Trump’s lies that the election was stolen from him or at least involved some level of fraud is becoming a litmus test for his support of 2022 politicians and GOP hopefuls.
Trump has publicly denigrated Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, one of the most vulnerable GOP governors up for reelection in 2022, over his certifying the 2020 presidential election for Biden.
And despite pleas from Sen. Rick Scott, who currently chairs the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, for Trump to stay out of Senate primaries, Trump is backing a primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski. He has also already publicly attacked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, two of the strongest potential GOP contenders to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.