“As Trump readies summer rallies and speeches, allies worry he’s stuck in the past”


Lately, Trump’s obsession with 2020 has also led him to indulge unhinged and false notions about being “reinstated” as commander-in-chief, according to three people familiar with these conversations, one of whom said he has been constantly watching the conspiracy-laden TV channel One America News and intensely following an ongoing Republican-demanded audit of votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County.

Trump has claimed the Arizona audit could lead to similar investigations in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia that would ultimately prove he won the 2020 election, one person close to Trump said. The reinstatement theory Trump has been sharing with aides was first reported by The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman on Tuesday….

More likely than not, Trump’s remarks will resemble the address he delivered to the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. In that speech, Trump thrilled the crowd of grassroots activists by castigating what he called a “very sick and corrupt electoral process” and teased a 2024 White House run by saying he may even decide to beat Democrats “for a third time.” As is the case with his speech this weekend, his CPAC address was drafted by the same speechwriting crew Trump worked with inside the West Wing: Stephen Miller, Vincent Haley and Ross Worthington.

While some allies have floated Trump’s Saturday appearance as the ideal launchpad for an updated stump speech, the internal push to get him to ditch his intense preoccupation with election fraud goes well beyond his visit to North Carolina.The behind-the-scenes effort, which has included Graham, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Fox News host Sean Hannity, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and other outside advisers, has shifted into full gear amid mounting fears that Trump is alienating certain voters and forcing Republican candidates to adopt the wrong foil in a critical election cycle.”

The conspiracy theories and election fraud rhetoric are helpful for keeping a certain audience engaged but they do virtually nothing to move other voters — especially those who care about pocketbook issues — into our column,” said one person close to Trump.”At some point, the election integrity stuff just becomes dull,” this person added.

“We’re six months out and I think we’re starting to see that happen. He can keep running through the greatest hits but he needs to weave in some new material too.”


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