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Trump has taken absolute control of the GOP state-by-state — here’s why

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President Donald Trump has taken control of the Republican Party in every state he needs to win next year, after enduring 2016 power struggles in important battlegrounds like Ohio and New Hampshire.

The Republican National Committee passed a resolution in January declaring “undivided support” for the president after merging the party and Trump’s re-election campaign, and Florida’s GOP chairman said the state party there was essentially a regional arm of the campaign, reported the New York Times.

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“I’ve had probably 10 conversations with the Trump team about the delegate selection process in Florida,” said Joe Gruters, who was co-chair of Trump’s 2016 campaign in Florida and now leads the state GOP. “The base of the party loves our president, and if anybody runs against him, they are going to get absolutely smashed.”

At least three Republicans — Maryland governor Larry Hogan, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld and former Ohio governor John Kasich — are considering primary challenges to the president, but the campaign has already tasked aides with making sure all delegates at next year’s convention are committed to Trump.

“There is no challenge to the president,” said John Watson, a former Kasich supporter who now leads the Georgia Republican Party. “The party is in near-unanimous lock step in support of him, certainly at the activist and delegate level.”

Trump’s top campaign aides Bill Stepien and Justin Clark have methodically boosted the president’s allies even in deep-blue states like Massachusetts, and have tried to broker peace between competing pro-Trump factions in other states.

“The key is that we make sure that the voters of Colorado understand the great job the president has done,” said Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who claimed victory in a power struggle to run Colorado’s state GOP. “That is what my job is.”

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The Trump campaign has targeted GOP governors critical of the president, and RNC officials say potential challengers would face a steep climb if they launched a primary campaign.

“No other candidate, no matter if it’s Gov. Hogan, Bill Weld or anybody else, will get one single delegate out of Maryland,” said David Bossie, the state’s RNC committeeman and a close advisor to the president.

Some traditional GOP donors have not yet committed to backing the president in 2020, but RNC officials warned that Trump critics weren’t welcome in the party.

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“If you know any Never Trumpers,” said Vera Ortegon, Colorado’s RNC committeewoman, “send them to me.”


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Trump says he can ‘absolutely’ force governors to reopen churches if he decides to do so

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At Tuesday's coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump was pressed on whether he really has the authority to force governors to allow houses of worship to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Can you explain what authority you had in mind when you said that you would do that?" asked a reporter.

The president emphasized that he does have the power — but did not elaborate on how specifically he would do so, and added that he doesn't think he will have to.

"I can absolutely do it if I want to," said Trump. "I don't think I'm going to have to, because it's starting to open up. We need our churches and our synagogues and our mosques. We want them open, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other — we want them open and we want them open as soon as possible."

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Trump continues pushing conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough — immediately after reporter tells him about widower begging him to stop

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At Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Donald Trump was asked by reporters if he was aware of the letter from the widower of deceased congressional aide Lori Klausutis, begging the president to stop promoting conspiracy theories that she had been murdered by former representative and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

The president replied, "Yeah I have." However, almost immediately after, he used the moment to continue pushing the conspiracy theory, adding, "As you know, there's no statute of limitations."

Asked if he's seen the distressed letter from the widower of Lori Klausutis about Trump turning her death into fodder, Trump says "yeah I have," then continues propagating his conspiracy nonsense, then says, "As you know, there's no statute of limitations."

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Trump tells a reporter to take off coronavirus mask and stop being ‘politically correct’

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At Tuesday's White House coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump got into an argument with Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason, when he commanded him to take off his protective face mask.

Mason refused to do so, at which point Trump mocked him, saying "You want to be politically correct."

Trump also repeated a line previously made by his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asking why former Vice President Joe Biden wore a mask when he was in public but not standing close to anyone, when he wasn't wearing a mask at home with his wife right next to him.

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