On Monday, former President Donald Trump surprised supporters in Florida on Monday, driving by them in a black SUV while waving to fans who lined both sides of the road.
“We love Trump! We love Trump!” people shouted as the car that Trump was riding in moved slowly by. They later erupted in chants of “USA! USA!”
A number of pro-Trump and American flags were waving in the breeze as supporters snapped images of the passing former president. The crowd was gathered to celebrate President’s Day.
Trump has largely remained out of the spotlight since leaving the White House on Jan. 20 – but his former and current advisers have regularly appeared on TV stations and social media, saying he will be engaged to help Republicans flip the House of Representatives and Senate in 2022.
Still – some Republicans sided with Democrats against Trump in the second impeachment saga and argue he is no longer the head of the party.
McConnell and 42 other Republican senators voted to acquit Trump, in large part because they felt the trial was unconstitutional since he’s now a private citizen. But seven Republicans joined Democrats in calling him guilty of incitement, including former Republican presidential nominee Sen. Mitt Romney.
Trump in a statement after the vote accused Democrats of fomenting riots and defaming law enforcement while pushing for censorship of people and viewpoints they oppose.
He also declared himself “a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”
Trump teased a comeback, telling supporters: “We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said that Trump is eager to get back into the game. “He’s ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party and is excited about 2022,” Graham said. He added that the re-emergence of the former president can be called “Trump plus.”
“We need to unite the party. ‘Trump plus’ is the way back in 2022,” he said. “Donald Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party.”
Graham said he talked with Trump after the acquittal. “I said, ‘Mr. President, this MAGA movement needs to continue.’” Graham said he plans to travel to Florida next week to golf with Trump.
“My goal is to win in 2022 to stop the most radical agenda I’ve seen coming out of the Democratic presidency of Joe Biden. We can’t do that without Donald Trump, so he’s ready to hit the trail and I’m ready to work with him,” said Graham, a longtime supporter of Trump.
The senator also said the former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, can win the GOP nomination in the North Carolina 2022 Senate race to run against the incumbent Republican. Sen. Richard Burr was one of the seven Republicans to vote to convict Trump on Saturday and plans to retire in 2022. Lara Trump was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, and went to North Carolina State University.
“My friend Richard Burr just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs,” Graham said, calling her the “future of the Republican Party.”
Burr blamed Trump for the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump supporters swarmed into the U.S. Capitol. “The President bears responsibility for these tragic events,” the senator said in a statement after the vote. “The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”