During this weekend’s Republican National Committee donor retreat in Florida, attendees headed to Donald Trump’s private club Mar-a-Lago on Saturday evening to hear prepared remarks from the twice-impeached former president on the future of his party. Predictably, Trump at times veered wildly off-script from his prewritten speech, the text of which was reviewed by The Daily Beast earlier in the day. While at the private event, he inveighed against Republican, Democratic, and celebrity enemies, and again denounced the 2020 presidential election outcome as “bullshit,” according to those in the audience.
“[Trump began] swearing and telling everyone about the stolen election,” according to one such attendee. The 2020 election, of course, was not stolen from Trump, and President Joe Biden decisively beat the GOP incumbent in both the Electoral College and popular vote counts. Trump’s anti-democratic blitz following Election Day and the lies he and much of the mainstream GOP spread about the election culminated in the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which Trump is now accused in court papers of inciting.
The source noted that the ex-president dinged his former VP Mike Pence for not fighting harder to subvert American democracy to keep Trump in power, but in particular went after Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. This source did not immediately respond to questions about specific phrasing but, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, Trump alleged that “a real leader" would not have bowed to the outcome and certification of Biden’s 2020 victory. Another source familiar with the event told The Daily Beast the former president trashed McConnell as a “dumb son of a bitch” in a non-scripted portion of his Saturday night address to GOP donors.
And according to Washington Post journalist Josh Dawsey, Trump also made time to vent pet grievances about “Oprah Winfrey and Barack Hussein Obama,” and to accuse Dr. Anthony Fauci of being “so full of crap.”
In the prepared text for Trump’s retreat address, the former president was set to talk to his adoring crowd about “ridiculous woke corporations,” Biden’s supposedly “AMERICA LAST” policy agenda, and “critical race theory,” among other topics. The speech marked yet another instance of Trump basking in his continued position as the dominant leader in the party (despite the GOP’s loss of the House, Senate, and White House on his watch), and endeavoring to sustain his grip on the conservative movement and Republican circles of power and influence. “Saturday’s speech will be welcomed words to the Republican donors visiting Mar-a-Lago to hear directly from President Trump,” Jason Miller, senior adviser to Trump, predicted in a statement sent to The Daily Beast earlier in the day. “Palm Beach is the new political power center, and President Trump is the Republican Party’s best messenger.”