Trump Begins His Revenge Tour

In Ohio, the ex-president holds his first campaign rally since Biden’s inauguration. Trump has two messages: Actually, he should be sitting in the White House. And: Vote disloyal Republicans out of office.

Donald J. Trump comes on stage, waves his arms and raises his fists. It’s almost like it always is on this Saturday summer evening in Wellington, Ohio. The fans cheer and country legend Lee Greenwood sings from the tape, “And I’m proud to be an American.”

Many of Trump’s supporters have attended dozens of such rallies in the past few years. According to local reports, some of them traveled from far away this time too and camped for days on the premises so they wouldn’t miss the show. This “business as usual” setting probably gave them a sense of security.

But something is different: Trump stepped up to the campaign microphone as ex-president for the first time since Joe Biden’s inauguration, as the former commander in chief. The 45th president is history. A circumstance that obviously bothers him a lot.

Banned from Twitter and Facebook, not many options still remain to him to bring his messages to the people. The mainstream media of The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC barely still report on him — compared to his time in office. Now Trump is more often a guest on right-wing mini-channels like OAN or Newsmax. In addition, through his mailing lists he has messages sent out daily, which are expected to reach several million recipients.

Trump’s Fans Believe His Every Word

However, the times when a Trump tweet could determine the public discourse for the day are over. But this shouldn’t belie the fact that Trump has a firm grip on the party, or rather what remains of the Grand Old Party after four years of his presidency.

Now he’s standing here in Wellington on the premises of the Lorain County Fair, which you might think of as a better field. This is safe campaign kickoff terrain for Trump. During the presidential election he won the state of Ohio with a nearly eight percentage point lead over Biden.

Not much can be said about the number of fans. Judging by the TV images there are a few thousand, but not 10,000. Not impressive, but also not few. Wellington has just over 5,000 inhabitants.

His hour-and-a-half speech can be quickly summarized. The new Biden administration is a “catastrophe,” he said. And the 2020 election was the biggest crime in U.S. history. Again and again he claims he’s the one who won the election. A conspiracy theory that he himself created. But that doesn’t matter here. His fans believe his every word.

His Rallies Are Tests for the 2024 Election

The rally in Wellington is the kickoff for Trump’s campaign tour for the midterm elections next year. After that, parts of the Senate and the House of Representatives will be reshaped. Republicans want to win back both chambers then. However, for now Trump is fighting mainly against his own people.

Above all, it’s a kind of revenge tour that he has ahead of him. Those Republicans who dared to vote for Trump’s removal from the Oval Office in the second impeachment trial after the storming of the Capitol have probably squandered their political futures. There weren’t many. Only 10 Republicans in the House and seven in the Senate believed that Trump did not belong in the White House. But that’s too many for Trump.

He has repeatedly vowed to do everything he can to prevent the reelection of these 17. There are prominent Republicans among them, such as Rep. Liz Cheney from Wyoming or the former presidential candidate and current senator, Mitt Romney from Utah. In Trump’s eyes, they are all “Fake Republicans” and “RINOs,” Republicans in Name Only.

That’s why Trump is endorsing only loyal supporters in the ongoing primary campaign instead of disloyal incumbents. In Ohio, for example, this affects Anthony Gonzalez, who had just begun his second term for his state’s 16th district when he voted for Trump’s impeachment in mid-January. Now Trump is having his former campaign employee Max Miller run against Gonzalez. Many assume that Trump’s man will succeed.

Ultimately, this and future rallies will also be tests of whether Trump has the necessary backing to run again in 2024. If it’s up to his cheering supporters here, the matter is clear. “Run, run, run,” they call from the stands whenever one of Trump’s previous speakers brings up the topic. When the far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia asked the crowd who their president is, they bellowed back: “Trump!”

About this publication

About Michael Stehle 100 Articles
I am a graduate of the University of Maryland with a BA in Linguistics and Germanic Studies. I have a love for language and I find translation to be both an engaging activity as well as an important process for connecting the world.

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