Donald Trump is campaigning again, which is good news for the Republican Party — most of it, anyway.
“He’s a sellout and fake Republican,” Trump said of Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who voted to impeach the former president. Running against Gonzalez in the GOP primary will be a former Trump aide Max Miller, who Trump praised as an “incredible patriot” and a “great guy” who “loves the people of Ohio.”
The media has billed Trump’s series of rallies as a “revenge tour,” but that’s not the case. This will be a nostalgia tour, as the former president will invite crowds to continuously re-litigate the 2020 election and his evolving theories about how it was stolen from him.
Of course, he’ll also throw plenty of red meat to his supporters. He criticized President Joe Biden as a “catastrophe” and mocked Vice President Kamala Harris for not visiting the border until he said he would go.
And he had plenty to say about the recent criticism of Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley.
“The Biden administration issued new rules pushing twisted critical race theory … into our military,” Trump told several thousand supporters gathered at the Lorain County Fairgrounds. “Our generals and our admirals are now focused more on this nonsense than they are on our enemies.”
“You see these generals lately on television? They are woke,” he said.
Trump told a vignette about a hypothetical future private getting dressed down by a general.
“Our military will be incapable of fighting and incapable of taking orders,” Trump predicted.
“That private’s going to tell the general, ‘Don’t you ever speak to me that way, general — I’ll kick your ass,’” Trump said. “That’s our military, that’s where we’re going. Woke.”
Trump said the brass had become “weak and ineffective leaders. And our enemies are watching and they’re laughing.”
Trump praised the efforts to begin an election audit in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin but said “the RINOs in the Michigan Senate” failed him after they recently released a report saying Biden won the state, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Michigan is not [taking the allegations of voter fraud seriously]. You can’t get those Republicans. Some are great, by the way, but Michigan is not doing the job. … How do you win Ohio by so much, record numbers, and lose Michigan?”
Trump also blamed Democrats for using the pandemic against him.
“They used COVID in order to cheat. They used COVID in order to rig the election and in order to steal the election. They used COVID,” he said during the Saturday night rally in Ohio. “That’s as simple as it gets.”
Several states took steps toward allowing for remote voting, such as vote-by-mail, in the 2020 election in an effort to curb the transmission of COVID-19, which the former president argued allowed for malfeasance because mail-in ballots are “treacherous.”
Trump praised the new moves taken by Republicans in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to reexamine the results of the 2020 presidential election, calling those leading the investigations “patriots.”
Ohio will also elect a new senator now that Rob Portman is retiring. Trump teased the crowd a bit, asking, “Who likes Jane Timken? Who likes Josh Mandel? Who likes Gibbons?” Those are the announced candidates. It’s expected next week that Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance will throw his hat in the ring, as well. Trump’s all-important endorsement probably won’t come until next fall.
Trump made little news at the rally, but he didn’t have to. His presence confirmed that he’s back and already in mid-campaign form as he looks to dominate the party for the next three years. Will he, or won’t he? Trump will tease his presidential announcement to get maximum political mileage out of it. He has the luxury of being able to wait while those Republicans seeking to replace him stand by uncomfortably in the wings.