The establishment’s fiscally conservative group Club for Growth invited six possible Republican presidential contenders to its annual donor retreat next month, The New York Times reports, but did not invite the only person who has officially entered the race, former President Donald Trump.
The group’s president David McIntosh told reporters that in his opinion Trump would diminish Republicans’ chances of taking back the White House, and he hopes “to introduce Republican donors to other possibilities.”
McIntosh implied that Trump is to be blamed for the Republicans’ poor performances in the past three election cycles. He did not cite personal animosity or ideological differences but did claim that the 45th president is too toxic for general election voters.
The club clashed with Trump in the 2022 midterms, often endorsing opposing primary opponents—including in Ohio, where Trump’s late campaigning for J.D. Vance helped propel Vance to victory.
McIntosh praised Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who is among the six he invited to meet with donors. The others invited include former Vice President Mike Pence, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.
McIntosh declined to comment on whether any had accepted.
President Trump lashed back on Truth Social:
“The Club For NO Growth, an assemblage of political misfits, globalists, and losers, fought me incessantly and rather viciously during my presidential run in 2016.”
“They said I couldn’t win, I did, and won even bigger in 2020, with millions of more votes than ‘16, but the Election was Rigged & Stollen.”
“They asked to get together on Endorsements of candidates, we did, and had MANY WINS & NO losses. Relationship broke up over my Endorsement of certain great people in Alabama & Ohio. I won them all!”
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