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Friday, February 3, 2023

Trump and Pence are staging a split in Arizona’s Republican Party

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Donald Trump during his rally in Prescott, Arizona.MARIO TAMA (AFP)

They call it the battle for the soul of the Republican Party. The fight has intensified in recent weeks thanks to revelations by the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. This Friday, two of the factions vying for Conservative control met in Arizona. Donald Trump and Mike Pence, who work under the same White House, held rallies this Friday to promote various candidates in the Republican primary on August 2, where the candidates running for election next November will come from. It’s not just the United States that’s divided. That’s how Republicans are.

Pence was Trump’s vice president and is now building his own path to the 2024 candidacy. He was the first to arrive in Arizona, a territory that holds grim memories for Trumpism. The former president, who won it in 2016, lost the conservative stronghold four years later by 10,400 votes. Unwilling to accept defeat, the President claimed he was the victim of a large-scale electoral fraud that gave Joe Biden the win. Not even eight lawsuits and one audit sanctioned by the radical sectors produced evidence to support these claims.

A Catholic politician with an understated and quiet demeanor, Pence avoided discussing his break with Trumpism during the visit. Nor did he mention the recent Congressional Special Committee hearing that proved this Friday that Trump did nothing to quell the uprising of his supporters who threatened to lynch the vice president. This was evacuated twice by the security forces.

The night was for Trump, who began multiple attacks on Biden over inflation, the highest in decades, and high gas prices. “Now we pray for energy,” he said. He poked fun at climate change and the Biden administration-sponsored Green New Deal. “They say that in a few years the sea will grow or maybe drop in level. he said. The former president was scheduled to hold his rally last week but postponed the visit due to the death of his first wife.

While Trump is always generous with criticism, he has also avoided talking about Pence. Instead, he had words for Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House Speaker, who came to Washington to explain how Trump tried to manipulate the election result through Rudy Giulianni. “He’s a coward and a bad person,” said the former president.

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Pence was in two cities with Gov. Doug Doucey, who supported the Democrat victory and refused to feed the nominated The Big Lie. Like the former vice president, Trumpists consider him a traitor. Especially after the TV cameras caught him silent An incoming call from Trumpwith the timbre of the hymn Salute to the boss (hail the boss), just moments before signing the documents certifying Biden’s victory.

The former vice president was in Peoria, a town northwest of Phoenix and on the Tucson border. Dubbed “one of the worst governors in the country” by Trump after refusing to follow the script of the scam and whom he now describes as “a Republican in name only,” Doucey will end his term in January 2023 after two terms as governor. Pence is promoting Karry Taylor Robson as his successor, a virtually unknown developer and lobbyist who raised $14 million out of her own pocket to launch her political career. “She’s pro-life, pro-gun and pro-wall,” Ducey, who supports her, described her.

Trump, who kicked off 2022 with an event in Arizona, is banking on Kari Lake, a former Fox News anchor who represents the most radical of politics. Eleven days before the primaries, Lake outperforms his rival by eight points, according to the average of Real Clear Politics polls. “Compared to Ducey, Kari Lake will be as different as day and night,” promised Trump, who managed to push through several of his candidates in the primaries, for example in the case of Maryland.

Arizona Gov. Kari Lake at Trump's rally in Prescott.
Arizona Gov. Kari Lake at Trump’s rally in Prescott.MARIO TAMA (AFP)

Though Republicans have cracks, local Democrats have warned that both sides are pursuing radical policies. The border and illegal immigration are issues present on both spectrums of the right. At the Prescott Valley rally, Trump said immigrants were “poisoning” his country. Previously, Kari Lake described what her first day as governor would be like: “I’m going to declare an invasion on the southern border, I’m going to send in the National Guard to stop people crossing, and we’re going to blow up the drug tunnels, no matter if there are.” people in them. The drones used by drug dealers? We’re going to shoot them. And above all, we will finish the wall,” he said to a standing ovation from thousands in attendance.

Hours earlier, Pence had questioned the Trump candidate’s conservative credentials. “I’m happy to welcome converts to the party, but Republicans don’t need a governor who supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. You need someone who has supported the right from Reagan to Donald Trump,” the former vice president said in front of about 350 people. Lake has called Pence a “liar” over his alleged endorsement of the former Foreign Secretary. “I thought he was an honorable man. This woman is disgusting and belongs in prison,” he said. During his speech, he called Biden an “illegitimate” president. And he charged: “The corrupt media wants us to believe that this guy won 81 million votes. Okay…”.

Trump has put more than 150 kilometers of land between himself and his collaborator. Prescott was accompanied by his traveling party of followers. Among them is pillow factory owner Mike Lindell, who continues to argue that voter fraud derailed Trump’s second presidency. Another speaker of the evening was Blake Masters, the Trump-backed Senate nominee. Masters, a 35-year-old financier pushed by far-right tech tycoon Peter Thiel. He has donated more than $13 million of his fortune to take his student to Congress, in the place now occupied by Democratic Party astronaut Mark Kelly.

The inclusion of Masters in the Trump camp makes it difficult for even some of his supporters to explain the group’s permanence. Trumpism has indicted the big tech companies, whom they see as their enemies. This has resulted in Masters and Thiel, father of Pay Pal and one of Silicon Valley’s big names, receiving friendly fire. A speaker on stage is said to have urged Trump supporters “not to attack the people who are in the trenches”. “If they attack them, they attack Donald Trump,” he clarified. The Senate candidate, front-runner in the pre-primary polls, suggested onstage “going on the offensive” and closing the border with Mexico and promoting legislation in Washington to prevent the Chinese from buying land on US land be able. On the way out, he released three messages to agitate the movement’s most radical: impeachment of Biden for Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for border control and indictment of Anthony Fauci for dealing with the pandemic.

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