Former President Donald Trump received a standing ovation in Las Vegas (western United States) on Saturday at a Republican Party rally, but several conservative leaders criticized him for recent disappointing results in the midterm elections.
In his first speech since announcing his candidacy for the White House in 2024 on Tuesday, Trump, 76, praised his tenure and praised his donors and members of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which holds its annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, until Sunday.
The former president refused to take responsibility for the electoral results of the Republicans, and in particular of his foals, in the midterms of November 8. He, on the other hand, declared that the Republican Party was “much bigger and more powerful than it was before I arrived”.
Saturday, he again questioned the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
“The election was rigged,” said the billionaire, who was speaking via video connection, but the audience, who had warmly welcomed him, did not react to these remarks.
He was added at the last minute to the list of speakers for the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
His participation raised expectations, as several of his detractors who had preceded him had invited to turn the page and build on “strong leadership”.
“I have a great policy for the Republican Party. Let's stop supporting crazy ineligible candidates in our primaries,” New Hampshire (northeast) Governor Chris Sununu said, without naming Trump.
Strong leaders, not celebrities
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was more blunt in his speech and insisted on holding Donald Trump accountable for the outcome of the midterm elections.
“Donald Trump chose candidates with one criterion, only one. It was not about their eligibility, experience, wisdom or charisma. […] But whether or not they believed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. If you believe in that, I support you, if not, I reject you”, launched Mr. Christie, who spoke to the crowd a few hours before the former president.
“Well, let me tell you, that is not what this party stands for. This is not what he should represent in the future. We have to stop this now. We lose because Donald Trump has put himself above everything else,” he warned.
For his part, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan once again criticized Mr. Trump in his speech on Friday.
“Even Trump's most ardent supporters say they've had enough [ …],” Mr. Hogan argued.
In the midterm elections, the Republican Party promised a “red wave” that would eliminate the Democratic Party from both houses of Congress in Washington.
However, Republicans only secured a narrow majority in the House of Representatives after several candidates backed by Donald Trump were defeated. This was also the case in the Senate – which remained in the hands of the Democrats – and in governorships considered crucial.
Mr. Trump was preceded on Saturday by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
For his part, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who served under the Trump administration and to whom observers also attribute presidential ambitions – was present at the rally.
“Our party needs strong leaders, now more than ever. Personalities, celebrities, will not do the job,” he said Friday, without naming Donald Trump.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to also participate in the Republican primary in view of 2024, was triumphantly re-elected in his state, leading some conservative media to see him as the new leader of the Republican Party.
He is due to speak Saturday, closing the rally.< /p>