Three of the Supreme Court’s picks came from the former president. But you wouldn’t be able to guess it based on their recent decisions.
At the rally in Ohio, Trump will appear at a VIP reception and fundraiser in support of Miller before making his case on stage. But he will also fend off political flirtations from Senate candidates eager for him to anoint their candidacy in what has become an overcrowded Republican primary race.
There were discussions among Trump’s aides ahead of Saturday’s rally over not allowing behind-the-scenes candidates to take photos with the former president for fear those images could later be used to implicate in wrong that they received his approval. Trump’s aides have been increasingly aggressive in pushing back candidates’ efforts to suggest they have Trump’s backing when they don’t.
Trump’s support was sought during the Ohio Senate race, where earlier this year a handful of them met the former president in an apprentice-style session where they fought for the impress. Trump has so far remained neutral in the contest. Some of the Republican candidates are expected to attend the fundraiser ahead of the rally.
The ex-president is not expected to approve the Ohio Senate GOP primary anytime soon, although he surprised many Republicans earlier this month when he backed GOP Representative Ted Budd in the race for the North Carolina Senate. In the meantime, the major candidates intend to take advantage of his trip.
Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer who led the first internal polls, posted on Twitter that he was “pumped” to be at the rally. Businessman Mike Gibbons hosts a tailgate outside the fairgrounds at the rally with food and games, according to a person close to the campaign, and plans to greet the rally attendees at the ‘event. Jane Timken, the former president of the state’s Republican Party, has run a radio ad welcoming Trump to Ohio and is holding a pre-rally for supporters to wave Trump, according to her countryside.
“I think the president is smart to take a step back and not give any approval. It’s a bit Darwinian, ”said former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon. “Ohio is the Lord of the Flies right now, but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.”
Democratic Representative Tim Ryan, candidate for the state Senate, rejected Trump’s visit in a brief interview. He called the contrast between the Biden administration’s track record and agenda versus Trump a “winner for us.”
“He’s not running for nothing in 2022, so he won’t be on the ballot,” Ryan added of Trump. “I can’t keep up with what they’re doing there. It’s just a culture war after a culture war after a culture war and people don’t want that. “
Since leaving office, Trump’s main fixation has been on his grievances over the 2020 election results, the “audits” to overturn the results, and the unfounded, conspiratorial allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
But he also pledged to help Republicans prepare for a return to power in 2022.
Between rounds of golf with friends, lunches and dinners at his private clubs in Palm Beach and Bedminster, and trips to Trump Tower in New York City to keep tabs on ongoing investigations into his businesses, he has organized fundraisers for pro-Trump candidates and worked with assistants to determine which endorsements to make.
Several assistants working on Saturday’s event said that while they were happy that Trump had rallies again, it felt like “uncharted territory” because this time he was not a candidate. At least for now. Trump continued to tease a race in 2024, and his team continues to portray him as if he’s still in the oval. In a poll emailed to supporters on Wednesday, Trump’s PAC Save America asked respondents who they believed was “a better candidate to lead our nation?”
Trump, once listed, secured the title of president. Biden simply stuck with his first and last name.
Alex Isenstadt contributed to this report.