Donald Trump will speak in Florida next to Matt Gaetz, who set House speaker’s ouster in motion


MIAMI (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is set to speak to some of his supporters near Mar-a-Lago Wednesday as he continues to dominate the Republican primary race for the White House despite four criminal cases against him.

Trump is appearing Wednesday at a convention center in West Palm Beach, Florida, with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a congressional ally who, with other hard-right conservatives, engineered the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The unprecedented action has kept Congress partly shuttered.

Trump has used the power vacuum to underline his lingering influence over the Republican Party. He has backed Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan to replace McCarthy. Jordan formed a close alliance with the former president, particularly during the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which Trump lost to President Joe Biden. Two of the cases against Trump, in Washington and Georgia, are over his efforts to overturn the results.

Trump has continued to travel to early primary states and has been spending much of his time focused on the four criminal indictments and several civil cases he is facing.

He has put pressure on his Republican challengers to drop out of the 2024 primary race to help him defeat Biden. On Tuesday, he criticized GOP candidates for meeting with donors in an event hosted by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who unsuccessfully challenged then-President Barack Obama in 2012 as the Republican presidential nominee, and Paul Ryan, a former congressman who was the House speaker between 2015 and 2019.

“These failed candidates should have started by campaigning effectively, which they didn’t because they don’t have the skill or the talent,” Trump said on his Truth Social site.

Among those 10 Republicans challenging him are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once a strong ally; Mike Pence, his former vice president; and Nikki Haley, who served as United Nations ambassador under Trump.

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