Donald Trump, the one-term Republican former president, will headline an event at his Mar-a-Lago home next month for candidates he has endorsed and for political action committees (PACs). The New York Times is calling the loosely-aligned entities a "shadow political party."
Trump and his allies are scheduling multiple events intended to raise money and secure him as a political "kingmaker" among the GOP as he "possibly" positions himself for a 2024 presidential run, the Times reports.
"Taken together, the pro-Trump groups form a sort of shadow political party that could help start another presidential campaign and, if that were successful, shape his administration. They include Mr. Trump’s own PACs, which amassed more than $100 million by last summer, employ an overlapping roster of former top officials from his administration and have signaled that they intend to embrace policies and candidates supported by Mr. Trump."
Those groups "have also helped reinforce his properties as a center of Republican power, holding events at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., and at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J."
The Times also points to a "nonprofit group called America First Policy Institute, which was started last year to serve as a think tank for Trump world," and "has the look of a Trump administration in waiting."
"It raised more than $20 million last year and has 110 employees," according to the Times. Employees include former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Trump's former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker, "and a number of former Trump cabinet members, such as David Bernhardt (who ran the Interior Department), Rick Perry (Energy Department) and Andrew Wheeler (Environmental Protection Agency)."
Trump has endorsed around 100 GOP candidates, some who are opposed by Republican Party leaders.
Huffpost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte, whom famously asked Trump during a 2020 press briefing if he regretted "all the lying" he has done to the American people, described the February forum as "Trump taking yet more $$$$$ by having GOP candidates stage an event at his for-profit tennis and croquet social club."