Some of Trump's closest friends, including Fox News Channel hosts Laura Ingraham and Laura Ingraham, warned him that Trump was "destroying his legacy." "All I can do is count me out. "Enough is enough," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, his confidant and friend. Mitch McConnell was the Senate Republican leader, who worked closely alongside Trump to dramatically reform the judiciary. He later condemned him for being "morally responsible".
Trump is not a leader in exile a year later. He is now the undisputed leader in the Republican Party, and a major contender for the 2024 Presidential nomination.
Trump is positioning himself to be a strong force in the primary elections that will determine who the party supports heading into the fall midterms. This is when control of Congress and governor's offices, as well as state election posts, are at stake. Trump's unwavering loyalty to his GOP vision is a litmus test of success in primary races. This gives ambitious Republicans little incentive not to follow him.
"Let's just state that I am horrendously disappointed," stated the former governor of New Jersey. Christine Todd Whitman is a Republican who serves on the advisory board of the Renew America Movement. This group is trying to take control of Trump's party.
She said, "His ego wasn't going to let him accept defeat" and continue on into the night. "But what I find surprising is how deferential so few of the Republican elected officials" are.
Trump has not expressed any regret for Jan. 6 events and instead, he seems more confident than ever. He also continues to lie about his 2020 election defeat. Trump often claims that the "real" insurrection occurred on Nov. 3, which is the date of the 2020 election, when Democrat Joe Biden won with a victory in the 306-232 Electoral College and a margin of 7 million votes.
Trump's attorney general and federal election officials have both said that there is no evidence of fraud in the election. Courts, including Trump's appointed judges, have also rejected the allegations of fraud made by former president.
Trump has not lost heart and is planning to run again for the White House in 2024.
Trump believes that the extraordinary outcome was the result of his willpower and a misinformation campaign. He first claimed that he couldn't lose if the election was "rigged", and refused to accept defeat. Trump's refusal to accept reality has been supported by most Republican leaders. They tend to ignore the gravity of the insurrection out of fear of breaking a party that is closely aligned to Trump and his efforts to minimize the impact of Jan. 6.
Five people were killed in the rioting and its aftermath. However, less than half the Republicans remember the attack as extremely or violent according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs. About 3 out 10 Republicans claimed that the attack wasn't violent.
Both political parties were shocked and depressed by the situation. They believed that the insurrection would make it impossible for Republicans to leave the Trump era. He was the first American president to be impeached twice in U.S history. Trump's role in the insurrection was the second impeachment. However, Trump was acquitted at a Senate trial. This indicated that he would not face any consequences.
"There was this hope that when we were in safety room, we would go back, and the Republicans will see how crazy this is, how fragile our democracy is, what President Trump has done, and that they'd renounce it and we all would come together," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) described the events that day. She said that instead, "there were people defending insurrectionists, defending Trump, and continuing with challenge and the Big Lie."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, was one of few GOP anti-Trump supporters in Congress. He, along with Rep. Liz Cheney, had predicted that Trump's grip on the party would "be gone” by the summer. Kinzinger recently declared his inability to run for reelection and blamed Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, and Trump ally, for making him wrong.
Kinzinger stated, "What I underestimated was how much impact one person would have on this, and that's Kevin McCarthy and his trip to Mar-a-Lago," Kinzinger referred to McCarthy's visit to Florida in January 2020, when the party was at the brink of collapse. Trump and McCarthy were focused on the retaking of the House in 2022 and agreed to collaborate. A photograph was released showing them smiling together.
Kinzinger stated that Kevin McCarthy was "legitimately, alonely the reason Donald Trump is still an force in the party." "I saw members embrace Trump with a full heart. They were not only scared of him, but also full-heartedly.
Aides to McCarthy did not respond to a request to comment on Kinzinger’s character.
Others point out fractures that indicate Trump's power is declining.
Trump has been banned from Twitter and his other social media megaphones are denied. Trump now doesn't control the news cycle as he did when he was in office. A news conference scheduled for Thursday was cancelled by Trump after pressure from Republican allies who warned that such an event would be ill-advised.
In last year's most important elections, Republicans like Glenn Youngkin, the Virginia governor-nominated nominee, kept Trump at arm’s length. Youngkin's win was a model for candidates who are running in battleground states, where suburban voters are not comfortable with Trump.
Although Trump's endorsement is still highly sought after in many midterm primaries, it has not been able to win in key races. Trump has also struggled to stop other Republicans from pursuing the 2024 presidential nomination. Trump's former vice president, secretary-of-state, and a few Senate allies made frequent trips to early voting States to prepare for possible campaigns and refuse to rule out running against him.
John Bolton, Trump’s former national security advisor, stated that "when somebody walks out from the most powerful office of the world, Oval Office to sit next to the swimming pool at Mar-a-Lago his influence decreases." Bolton funded extensive polling at both the state and national level on the subject in the past year. It has shown that Trump's influence and power as an endorser has declined significantly since his departure from office.
Bolton stated, "I believe that the evidence is clearly that the people have had enough of Trump." He still has support but it is decreasing. It's not falling as quickly as I would like, and it's still not at zero. It is, however, declining among real people."
Trump is also under investigation for a series of allegations, including one in New York. Prosecutors are looking into whether Trump's real estate company misled tax officials and banks about the assets of his family. They are also investigating whether he inflated them to obtain favorable loan terms, or minimized them to get tax savings. The New York Attorney General Letitia James' office confirmed that it had subpoenaed Trump along with his two oldest children, Ivanka, and Donald Trump Jr. as part of an investigation into Trump's business practices. Both of Trump's children were prominent political surrogates.
On Capitol Hill, the Jan. 6-committee continues to investigate Trump's involvement in the insurrection.
Trump is still focused on 2024 even though he obsesses about the 2020 election. Trump's team has been busy raising money for 2021 and is now focusing on helping these candidates win. They have a more aggressive rally schedule and financial support. This includes transfers to candidate accounts.
According to his allies, Trump sees the midterms in the foundation of his next campaign and plans to use the cycle as a way to position himself for the nomination.
As states with Republican legislatures push legislation to allow them to influence the vote in future elections, voting rights advocates are becoming more concerned. They are concerned about what could happen if Trump-endorsed candidates as secretary of state or attorney general, who claim the election was stolen, find themselves in positions that could influence the outcome in 2024.
Whitman said that it was a concerted effort by the political elite to undermine the electoral system. "In 2022 and 2024, they can turn it around if they don’t like the elections -- this is Republicans." Whitman also serves as cochair of States United Action. This nonpartisan nonprofit aims to preserve the integrity of future elections. "We are in very, very fragile territory."