Former president Donald Trump has painted a dramatic picture of his recent rally audiences, depicting his supporters as weeping over his 2020 election defeat and enraged at his enemies within the Republican Party.
“All they want is HOPE for their Great Country again,” the former president wrote in a maudlin statement on Monday. “Their arms are outstretched, they cry over the Rigged Election – and the RINOs have no idea what this movement is all about.”
Mr Trump was referring to the 2020 election – which was not, in fact, rigged – and to “Republicans In Name Only,” a nickname he sometimes uses for Republicans who do not support him.
“In fact, they are perhaps our biggest problem,” the one-term president went on. “We will never save our Country or be great again unless Republicans get TOUGH and get SMART!”
Mr Trump recently held his first two rallies since the end of his presidency – the first in Wellington, Ohio and the second in Sarasota, Florida. In his statement, he described the crowds there as utterly devoted to him, “waiting for days, standing in the pouring rain,” and coming “from near and far.”
One person who did not come to the Florida rally was the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis. Although the Republican has been a staunch Trump ally, he decided to remain in the town of Surfside, where an apartment building recently collapsed, killing at least 27 people. Mr DeSantis’ chief of staff had reportedly asked Mr Trump’s team if they would postpone the rally as the state copes with the disaster – although the governor’s office denies this.
Whatever the case, Mr Trump was in Florida on Saturday, regaling the crowd with his grievances – including about New York prosecutors’ recent indictment of his company over untaxed fringe benefits.
“You didn’t pay tax on the car, or the company apartment,” he said mockingly. “Or education for your grandchildren. I don’t even know, do you have to put – does anyone know the answer to that stuff?”