Trump and Pence stage the division of the Republican party in Arizona | International


Donald Trump, during his rally in Prescott, Arizona.MARIO TAMA (AFP)

They call it the battle for the soul of the Republican party. The fight has intensified in recent weeks thanks to revelations from the committee investigating the Capitol assault. This Friday, two of the factions vying for control of the Conservatives met in Arizona. Donald Trump and Mike Pence, who worked under the same White House, have held rallies this Friday to promote different candidates in the Republican primaries on August 2, where the candidates who will be on the ballot next November will come from. Not only the United States is divided. So are the Republicans.

Pence was Trump’s vice president and is now building his own path to the candidacy in 2024. He was the first to arrive in Arizona, a territory that holds bitter memories for Trumpism. The former president, who won it in 2016, lost the conservative stronghold four years later by 10,400 votes. Unwilling to accept defeat, the president alleged that he had been the victim of large-scale electoral fraud that gave Joe Biden victory. Not even eight lawsuits and an audit approved by the radical sectors yielded evidence to support these claims.

A Catholic politician with a low profile and calm ways, Pence avoided speaking during the visit about his fracture with Trumpism. He also did not mention the recent congressional special committee hearing, which on Friday proved that Trump did nothing to quell the insurrection of his supporters, who threatened to lynch the vice president. This was evacuated twice by the security forces.

The night was for Trump, who began with several attacks against Biden for inflation, the highest in decades, and high gasoline prices. “Now we pray for energy,” he said. He made fun of climate change and the Green New Deal promoted by the Biden Administration. “They say that in a few years the sea will grow, or perhaps it will drop in level. Who the hell knows?” he stated. The former president was going to hold his rally last week, but he postponed the visit due to the death of his first wife.

While always generous with criticism, Trump has also avoided talking about Pence. Instead, he did have words for Rusty Bowers, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, who came to Washington to explain how Trump tried to manipulate, through Rudy Giulianni, the election result. “He is a coward and a bad person,” said the former president.

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Pence was in two cities accompanied by Governor Doug Doucey, who endorsed the Democratic victory and refused to feed the one that has been named as The great lie. Like the former vice president, Trumpists consider him a traitor. Especially after TV cameras caught him silencing an incoming call from Trump, ringing the anthem. salute to the boss (Hail to the Chief), just moments before signing the documents that certified Biden’s victory.

The former vice president was in Peoria, a city northwest of Phoenix, and the border Tucson. Doucey, who has been called by Trump “one of the worst governors in the country” after refusing to follow the script of the fraud and whom today he has called “Republican in name only”, exhausts his term in January 2023 after two terms as governor . He pence promotes as his successor Karry Taylor Robson, a virtually unknown developer and lobbyist who has put up $14 million of her own pocket to launch her political career. “She is pro-life, pro-gun and pro-wall,” Ducey, who supports her, described her.

Trump, who kicked off 2022 with an event in Arizona, is betting on Kari Lake, a former Fox News anchor who has embraced the most radical policies. Eleven days before the primaries, Lake leads her rival by eight points, according to the average of Real Clear Politics polls. “Compared to Ducey, Kari Lake will be as different as day from night,” promised Trump, who has managed to impose several of her candidates in the primaries, as in the case of Maryland.

Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake at Trump's rally in Prescott.
Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake at Trump’s rally in Prescott.MARIO TAMA (AFP)

Although Republicans show fissures, local Democrats have warned that both sides are championing radical policies. The border and illegal immigration are issues present on both spectrums of the right. At the Prescott Valley rally, Trump said immigrants “poison” his country. Earlier, Kari Lake described what her first day as governor would be like: “I will declare an invasion on the southern border, I will send the National Guard to prevent people from crossing and we are going to blow up the drug tunnels regardless of whether there are people in them. The drones used by drug traffickers? We’re going to shoot them. And most importantly, we are going to finish the wall,” she said to a standing ovation from thousands in attendance.

Hours earlier, Pence had questioned the conservative credentials of the Trump candidate. “I’m happy to welcome converts to the party, but Republicans don’t need a governor who supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They need someone who has supported the right from Reagan to Donald Trump,” the former vice president told about 350 people. Lake has called Pence a “liar” for his alleged endorsement of the former secretary of state. “I thought he was an honorable man. That woman is disgusting and she should be in prison,” he stated. During his speech, he called Biden an “illegitimate” president. And he charged: “The corrupt media wants us to believe that this guy won 81 million votes. Okeeee…”.

Trump put more than 150 kilometers of land between him and whoever was his collaborator. Prescott was accompanied by his traveling troop of stalwarts. Among them, Mike Lindell, owner of a pillow factory, who continues to argue that electoral fraud derailed Trump’s second presidency. Another of the night’s speakers was Blake Masters, the candidate that Trump supports for the Senate. Masters, a 35-year-old financier pushed by far-right tech tycoon Peter Thiel. He has donated more than 13 million dollars of his fortune, to take his disciple to Congress, to the place that astronaut Mark Kelly, of the Democratic Party, now occupies.

The inclusion of Masters in the Trump camp makes it difficult to explain the group’s consistency, even for some of his supporters. Trumpism has charged against the big technology companies, whom they consider their enemies. This has made Masters and Thiel, father of Pay Pal and one of the great figures of Silicon Valley, receive friendly fire. A speaker on stage should have asked Trump supporters “not to attack the people who are in the trenches.” “If they attack them, they are attacking Donald Trump,” he clarified. The Senate candidate, leader in the polls heading into the primaries, proposed on stage to “go on the offensive” and close the border with Mexico and promote a law in Washington so that the Chinese cannot buy land in the US countryside. On the way out, he launched three messages to agitate the most radical of the movement: impeach Biden, for the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for border control and bring Anthony Fauci to trial for managing the pandemic.

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