According to a report from Fox News on the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida, more than a few attendees said they feel Donald Trump has changed the focus of the Republican Party for the better but don't necessarily want him to be the GOP's presidential nominee in 2024.
Speaking with attendees at the conference that was moved to Florida this year due to avoid stringent COVID-19 restrictions in Washington D.C., the name of Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was a popular choice for those with an eye on reclaiming the White House after Trump lost to now-President Joe Biden.
Seemingly every attendee expressed support for the twice- impeached Trump, with one stating, "I think President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. He is still the leader even if he's not president -- at least of our party," but admitted it may be time to move on to a new candidate.
According to Val Biancaniello from Pennsylvania who was a Trump delegate in 2020 and claims he has a substantial amount of support among the conference attendees, "I really like Ron DeSantis in '24. I think President Trump has a huge role in our party ... fundraising and helping candidates get elected. His America First policy is still a very strong sentiment. If the theme of CPAC is 'America Uncancelled,' I think Ron DeSantis is really the face of that right now ... He's a proactive governor instead of a reactive governor."
Attendee Aaron Rosenthal from Florida agreed, adding he didn't want to see Trump "pushed out," but, "The way it stands right now, if I were to make my very own prediction, my hopes as a native Floridian is it's going to be our very own Ron DeSantis."
Carson Wolf, who admitted that he is attending CPAC with his parents, stated that Trump has "re-defined" the GOP as a populist party, but added it may be time to look forward instead of backward for the party's new standard-bearer.
"You know, we used to be so conservative and always sticking to the same rules and the same set of standards that haven't evolved. But he has pushed us forward in helping us become a more national populist side of things. I can see him as the Republican nominee, " he stated before confessing, "I personally really want to see somebody like Gov. DeSantis or somebody like Dan Crenshaw running. I think we need a new face, you know? But I love Trump and I'd be so satisfied to see him in 2024."
Attendee Aaron Timko suggested another nominee -- name-checking DeSantis and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) -- saying he wants "Somebody who is not Trump."
"Somebody in the Republican Party who can stand up to the media with a bit more regality than Trump can. Despite how wonderful he was for the country, we can't have a media focusing on him for the next four years instead of Biden," he suggested.
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GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado traveled to Wyoming on Saturday to try and fire fellow Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.
Boebert is campaigning for Harriet Hageman, who is challenging Cheney in the GOP primary for the state's at-large seat in Congress.
"I want to tell you a story about his generosity," she said, referring to Trump, who is the top topic in the race.
"About how kind he is, about how welcoming he is. The thing that these folks right here in the back never let anyone see," she said, pointing to the press. "Fake media is the virus."
"My family and I were with President Trump, and even not like germs, Trump shared a bowl of popcorn with my 14-year-old son. Now listen Wyoming, I know where he's been, I don't share food with my son," the mother of four said.
Other Republicans who traveled to Wyoming for the rally include Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Kat Cammack (R-FL).
Watch the clip below or at this link.
\u201cBoebert: I want to tell you a story about his generosity, about how kind he is\u2026 Even not liking germs, President Trump shared a bowl of popcorn with my son\u2026 I don\u2019t share food with my son.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1653768490
Texas Dems demand special session to raise the age to buy AR-15s and require background checks: report
The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus is urging Gov. Greg Abbott to call an emergency special legislative session to consider a variety of gun restrictions and safety measures in the wake of a mass school shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two adults dead this week.
In a letter released Saturday morning, all 13 Senate Democrats demanded lawmakers pass legislation that raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 years old. The Uvalde gunman was 18 and had purchased two AR-style rifles which he used in the attack.
The caucus is also calling for universal background checks for all firearm sales, “red flag” laws that allow a judge to temporarily remove firearms from people who are considered an imminent threat to themselves or others, a “cooling off period” for the purchase of a firearm and regulations on high capacity magazines for citizens.
“Texas has suffered more mass shootings over the past decade than any other state. In Sutherland Springs, 26 people died. At Santa Fe High School outside Houston, 10 people died. In El Paso, 23 people died at a Walmart. Seven people died in Midland-Odessa,” the letter reads. “After each of these mass killings, you have held press conferences and roundtables promising things would change. After the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, those broken promises have never rung more hollow. The time to take real action is now.”
Such laws are unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has a track record of favoring legislation that loosens gun restrictions. Only the governor has the power to call lawmakers back into a special session for emergency work.
Asked about a special session at a Friday press conference in Uvalde, Abbott said “all options are on the table” adding that he believed laws would ultimately be passed to address this week’s horrors. However, he suggested laws would be more tailored toward addressing mental health, rather than gun control.
“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws are passed, that I will sign, addressing health care in this state,” he said, “That status quo is unacceptable. This crime is unacceptable. We’re not going to be here and do nothing about it.”
He resisted the idea of increasing the age to purchase a firearm, saying that since Texas became a state, 18-year-olds have been able to buy a gun.
He also dismissed universal background checks saying existing background check policies did not prevent the Santa Fe and Sutherland Springs shootings, which both happened while he has been in office.
“If everyone wants to seize upon a particular strategy and say that’s the golden strategy right there, look at what happened in the Santa Fe shooting,” he said. “A background check had no relevance because the shooter took the gun from his parents…Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks as opposed to mental health, I suggest is mistaken.”
Since the massacre at Robb Elementary School, the governor’s comments about potential solutions have centered around increasing mental health services, rather than restricting access to firearms.
But in the letter, Senate Democrats criticized the governor for blaming a “broken mental health care system – that you and other state leaders continue to underfund severely.”
“We need evidence-based, common sense gun safety laws. Without a doubt, if at least some of the measures noted above had been passed since 2018, then many lives could have been saved,” the caucus wrote.
Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter.
After the Santa Fe school shooting in 2018, Abbott released a variety of recommendations to address school safety, including a call to the Legislature to consider a “red flag” law.
At the time, Abbott claimed in his plan to improve school safety that similar protective orders restricting gun possession could have prevented the mass shootings in Sutherland Springs, southeast of San Antonio, and Parkland, Florida.
By the end of the 2019 legislative session Abbott signed a package of school safety measures that primarily focused on expanding mental health resources and “hardening school buildings.” He expanded the number of school staff who could have a firearm on school grounds.
When he signed that legislation at the end of the 2019 session, reporters asked if he still supported a “red flag” law.
Abbott said such a measure wasn’t necessary in Texas “right now.”
On Friday, Roland Gutierrez, the Democratic state senator who represents Uvalde, interrupted Abbott’s press conference by walking to the front of the auditorium and urged the governor to bring lawmakers back for three weeks.
"We have to do something, man,” he said to Abbott, the second Democratic politician to interrupt a press conference this week. "Just call us back.”
In the hours after the shooting on Tuesday, Gutierrez told the Texas Tribune that the state needed to make it more difficult to obtain a firearm, especially the gun used by the shooter, an AR-15, which he called a “weapon of mass destruction.”
“There's not a hunter in Texas that utilizes these kinds of weapons,” he said. “And so I'm not saying let's take those kinds of weapons away, I'm saying that we should have some greater accessibility restrictions …When you've got an 18-year-old kid getting his hands on this kind of weaponry, it just makes no sense to me.”
Republicans were blasted on Saturday for attending the National Rifle Association's national convention following the Uvalde school shooting.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board described proceeding with the convention as "callousness at its worst."
"Just when it seemed the National Rifle Association’s callous disregard for the mayhem it sows couldn’t be any more shocking, it decided to proceed with its national convention in Houston this weekend. This even as Uvalde, Texas, just 280 miles away, buries 19 of its children," the newspaper reported. "The routine use of AR-15 varieties by Americans to kill other Americans en masse can, like most of the nation’s unparalleled psychosis regarding firearms, be laid directly at the feet of the NRA and its political lackeys."
The newspaper noted Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick bowed out of the event.
"That small gesture to decency is apparently too much, though, for former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and other attendees, who might as well be thumbing their noses at dead children this weekend," the newspaper wrote.
Trump used his speech to complain about "evil."
"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — who last year signed a law eliminating gun permit requirements that might have stymied the Uvalde shooter had they been left in place — has opted for the worst of both worlds: He will send a pre-recorded video to be played at the convention rather than attending in person, because he will be busy … in Uvalde, addressing the tragedy he and his party helped facilitate," the editorial board wrote. "In a just political world, even Republican voters would punish Abbott and his ilk for the pile of salt they are now heaping onto America’s freshest wound."
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) also pulled out of the event along with musicians Lee Greenwood, Don McLean, Larry Gatlin and Larry Stewart, CNN reported.