Trump tells Republican donors he'll help win Congress in 2022
From Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President Donald Trump pledged to help Republicans win seats in Congress in the 2022 election.
At a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago Club for Republican National Committee donors in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump made it clear that he is still upset that he cannot hold on to the White House despite the Jan. 3 election November lost to Democrat Joe Biden, who is now President.
McConnell drew Trump's anger after the election for finding the obvious - that Biden had won the presidency - and the two remain at odds. Trump separated from the prepared text of his speech and called the Senator a "son of a bitch," one participant told Reuters.
Before leaving office, Trump had berated Pence for failing to intervene to stop Congress from confirming the voting results, an authority the Vice President did not have.
The voting certificate was the backdrop to events on January 6, when pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Trump went back to his prepared text and said he recently spoke to Pence and told him he was still disappointed in him, the participant said.
McConnell and Pence representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In prepared remarks from Reuters, Trump attempted to position himself as the Republican kingmaker, saying he wanted to "talk about the future of the Republican Party - and what we need to do to get our candidates on the path to victory".
"I stand before you tonight full of confidence that we will retake the House of Representatives and retake the Senate in 2022. And then a Republican candidate will win the White House in 2024," he said.
Trump has spent the two and a half months since his chaotic exit from the White House reviewing requests from 2022 candidates for his endorsement, and has given them his blessings based on whether or not they support him and his agenda.
He has said that any talk of his own plans - the constitution gives him the right to seek another four-year term - should wait until after the November 2022 elections.
A host of other Republicans are considering their own potential candidates for the party's 2024 presidential nomination, including Trump's former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
While Biden defeated Trump by millions of votes, the Republican advanced among traditional Democratic voters such as Hispanics and African Americans.
Trump, who also sprayed his remarks with attacks on Biden, said the key to victories in 2022 is to build on those accomplishments. "The Republican Party will thrive and grow in the future by recognizing its fate as advocates of working class Americans."
Trump's active role in Republican politics despite losing the 2020 election is different from other former presidents who have tended to retreat from the limelight after leaving the White House.
"Saturday's speech will be welcome words to Republican donors who visit Mar-a-Lago to hear directly from President Trump. Palm Beach is the new center of political power and President Trump is the Republican Party's best ambassador," said Trump adviser Jason Miller.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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