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Trump Loyalists Spurn ‘Failed Republican Establishment of Yesteryear’

  • February 27, 2021

The Republican speakers, instead, won applause by focusing on the themes that animated the party during Mr. Trump’s presidency — the us-versus-them politics, the preoccupation with personality over policy — all while scarcely even mentioning Mr. Biden’s name.

It was not until Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, took the stage near the end of Friday’s sessions that anyone offered an extended critique of Mr. Biden’s first month in office. Yet the former president’s eldest son spent nearly as much time ridiculing Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican and a Trump critic, as he did confronting the current president.

“Liz Cheney and her politics are only slightly less popular than her father at a quail hunt,” said the younger Mr. Trump, a nearly 15-year-old reference to a hunting accident that didn’t quite land with the college students dotting the audience.

Other speakers used their time to belittle Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted twice to impeach Mr. Trump, drawing laughs and applause.

After days of Republicans proclaiming there would be no civil war in the party, the attacks represented a stark reminder that Mr. Trump and his closest associates are determined to purge their critics.

If that was not clear enough from the rhetoric onstage in Orlando, the former president signaled his determination to exact vengeance by releasing a statement Friday afternoon announcing his support for a former aide, Max Miller, who is attempting to unseat Representative Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republican. Mr. Gonzalez voted last month to impeach Mr. Trump.

“We represent the pro-Trump, America-first wing of the conservative movement,” declared Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, who in January traveled to Wyoming to call for Ms. Cheney’s ouster. “Turns out populism is popular.”

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