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With gold-colored Trump statue, conservatives show fealty to former president

PoliticsFeb 26, 2021 05:32PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC in Washington 2/2

By Steve Holland and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. conservatives praised Donald Trump at an annual gathering on Friday, even unveiling a golden statue of the former president, showing he remains a Republican political force despite violent scenes in Washington last month.

Prominent congressional conservatives - including Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley and Representatives Steve Scalise and Matt Gaetz - were among the Trump loyalists speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, which the former president will address on Sunday.

"Let me tell you something: Donald Trump ain’t going anywhere," said Cruz.

Trump's tumultuous final weeks in office saw his supporters launch a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory, a win that Trump falsely claimed was tainted by widespread fraud.

If there was any doubt that CPAC this year was devoted to Trump, the gold-colored statue of the former president, dressed in a jacket, red tie and Stars-and-Stripes boxing shorts, was on display at the conference site.

Two participants wheeled the larger-than-life statue through the conference center lobby, according to a video on social media. It was unclear why the statue, showing a cartoonish version of Trump with an oversize head, was there.

The statue drew instant derision online, with commentators comparing it to the golden calf that enraged the prophet Moses in the Old Testament.

"Idol worship isn't conservative. #RestoreOurGop," Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack, said on Twitter.

Gaetz declared himself part of the "pro-Trump, America First" wing of the conservative movement. "We're not really a wing, we're the whole body," he said.

He also appeared to forecast a future role for Trump, who is pondering another run for president in 2024: "Trump may not have drained the swamp all the way – yet."

U.S. Senator Rick Scott, a Florida Republican who may run for the party's presidential nomination in 2024, sought to thread the needle between pledging loyalty to Trump and signaling his aspirations for higher office.

He said "President Trump has flaws" but that he had made the party more approachable for working-class Americans.

“We will not win the future by going back to where the Republican Party used to be," Scott said. "If we do, we will lose the working base that President Trump so animated. We’re going to lose elections across the country and ultimately we’re going to lose our nation."

'NOT THE PAST'

Hawley, another possible 2024 candidate, called himself part of the future of the party.

"We're not the past, we're the future. We represent the future of this country," he said.

Trump is expected to talk on Sunday about the future of the party and lay out policy differences within a group riven by differences in the wake of his chaotic four years in office.

"The divide right now is between the 'Beltway elites' and the conservative grassroots around the country," said a Trump adviser who helped prepare the speech.

Trump will also offer red-meat rhetoric critical of his successor, Democrat President Joe Biden.

Trump supporters at the conference on Friday repeated some of his false claims, arguing that they justified new restrictions on voting.

In addition to the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, seven Senate Republicans voted to convict him of inciting insurrection, although the 57-43 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

Many other senior Republicans did not attend this year's event. They included former Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Representative Liz Cheney - another House Republican who voted to impeach.

Some advisers say they want Trump not to use his speech to relitigate the election at length but instead offer a road map to Republicans' regaining control of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 2022 congressional elections.

CPAC is an event organized by the American Conservative Union, whose chairman, Matt Schlapp, is close to Trump. It is a prime venue for speakers who want to gauge interest in whether they should run for president based on the enthusiasm they generate.

With gold-colored Trump statue, conservatives show fealty to former president
 

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Comments (22)
la popeye
la popeye Feb 28, 2021 7:58PM ET
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trump statue is exactly what you can find in Disney parks...sorry, this is an offense to the parks.!
Jon Benton
Jon Benton Feb 27, 2021 11:39PM ET
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Cruz needs to be exterminated from politics !!!!
Red Riley
Red Riley Feb 27, 2021 8:42PM ET
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where are coumo auricles on ********allegations
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Feb 26, 2021 8:14PM ET
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Dear leader, North Korea style
peter neal
peter neal Feb 26, 2021 4:31PM ET
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" I'm not wearing a mask" What percent of the 500,000 people that died of Covid would still be here if he was never President. He lied about Covid and people are dead because of him.
Chase Siegel
Chase Siegel Feb 26, 2021 4:31PM ET
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By him are you referring to the CDC?
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Feb 26, 2021 4:31PM ET
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I wonder how many people the US sent to their graves under Obama, the administration that started the most wars in US history.
Forex Harbingers
Forex Harbingers Feb 26, 2021 4:31PM ET
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Congrats on literally the most ignorant statement on the internet. Way to show how gullible you are, and how lacking your critical thinking skills are.
Brennan Noall
Brennan Noall Feb 26, 2021 4:29PM ET
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Wake up America - Trump is a f n ****!!
Knate Biro
Knate Biro Feb 26, 2021 4:27PM ET
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No real republican supports Trump.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Feb 26, 2021 2:37PM ET
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I was optimistic that it would take Biden About 3 years to wreck the country. But he exceeded my expectations by doing it in under 6 months. And oh boy these gas prices are giving me a warm fuzzy feeling.
Anthony Anthony
Anthony Anthony Feb 26, 2021 2:32PM ET
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He ain't going nowhere when in PRISON
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Feb 26, 2021 1:43PM ET
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Trump is no longer president so why keep pounding him? We need to focus on the current person who is ruining America. Joe...
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Feb 26, 2021 1:43PM ET
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because there are many CCP supporters in here, sadly. Many people with multiple accounts going all out propaganda style.
Forex Harbingers
Forex Harbingers Feb 26, 2021 1:43PM ET
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To dim his hopes of a 2024 election
Charles Sturrock
Charles Sturrock Feb 26, 2021 1:16PM ET
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"Trump ain't going anywhere"? Truer words have never been spoken. Trump is "one and done". Good riddance. By the way Ted, how was the weather in Cancun?
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Feb 26, 2021 11:13AM ET
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I would be surprised if "president" Trump is NOT in Federal custody by 2024.
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Feb 26, 2021 11:13AM ET
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Yes, let's start jailing past administrations. Start with the one that started the most wars in US history, Obama's.
Adrian White
Adrian White Feb 26, 2021 11:13AM ET
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Kelly Mayer one problem you forgot. You have to actually have committed a crime, and be convicted of it, first. While starting a war as president might be unappealing, it's not a federal crime, so why would an ex-president go to jail for that? Trump, on the other hand, is being investigated for multiple potential crimes, committed before his presidency, as a regular citizen. Try to understand the difference.
Kenneth nelson
grasshopper Feb 26, 2021 10:50AM ET
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Trump 20 / 24
carol foulds
carol foulds Feb 26, 2021 10:50AM ET
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Also 28/32/36/40...........
carol foulds
carol foulds Feb 26, 2021 10:50AM ET
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That’s because the majority of people who used to consider themselves Republicans have left the Republican Uniparty. Myself included. The Republican Party is over.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Feb 26, 2021 10:50AM ET
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carol foulds (Hopefully.)
Julie Cruise
Julie Cruise Feb 26, 2021 10:33AM ET
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the lack of leadership is tangible with Biden/Harris in charge
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Feb 26, 2021 10:33AM ET
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You mean the lack of chaos and disorganization?
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Feb 26, 2021 10:33AM ET
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Benjamin McIntire There's that, AND the lack of treason.
James Weir
James Weir Feb 26, 2021 10:30AM ET
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Reports launched a deadly attack on the capital? What a load of BS by the author of this article. ******it.
James Weir
James Weir Feb 26, 2021 10:30AM ET
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Supporters*
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Feb 26, 2021 10:30AM ET
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James Weir you gonna blame minorities and democrats for that too? Gosh what happened to the party of personal responsibility? More like party of whiny babies.
carol foulds
carol foulds Feb 26, 2021 10:30AM ET
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They meant to say crisis actors.
perry winkler
perry winkler Feb 26, 2021 10:30AM ET
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whatever he says will be a lie.
Me comment
Me comment Feb 26, 2021 10:10AM ET
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Hold on to him he'll drag you down and into prison with him.
MV MM
MV MM Feb 26, 2021 10:02AM ET
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"A total of 17 members of his party in Congress voted to impeach or convict him for inciting insurrection" ? Is this math correct or just a intentional mistake ?
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Feb 26, 2021 9:54AM ET
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Beware: Loser *****below!
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Feb 26, 2021 8:05AM ET
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Reuters will fold like a tent and start covering Donald Trump again because they have now seen that since he's been gone they have no readership. And in no small part because they have no journalism ethics.
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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"win that Trump falsely claimed was tainted by widespread fraud" - a vast number of analytic experts and forensic auditors disagree with this claim. hereistheevidence.com
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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Not one court in the land out of at least several dozen allowed the Republicans to present evidence regarding elections.
Patron Silver
Patron Silver Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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Kelly's confirmation bias is at an all time high
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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He definitely gets my vote.  80 million people voted for Joe biden? You'd have to live under a rock
Apfel Wein
Apfel Wein Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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no way more people voted for Biden than Obama.  Both Obama and Trump got big crowds.  The few times Biden left his basement, maybe 80 people.  Plus, Ms. Harris did very poorly on her own in the D primary.  Not popular in her own party.
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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slugs live under rocks
Patron Silver
Patron Silver Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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Apfel Wein believe it
Adrian White
Adrian White Feb 26, 2021 6:43AM ET
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Apfel Wein elections are not won by how many people turn out to your rally. They are won by how many vote for you. Biden supporters didn't need to hear him speak at a rally. He made his platform clear online, and on TV. And Trump's crazy public antics and rallies took away the need for Biden to hold any rallies anyway. It was enough to know who you wanted to vote for. Why does he need to speak to big crowds (during a pandemic, no less) just for you to believe he won more votes?
 
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