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Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

From campaigns to conventions, Donald Trump and his administration are reemerging in exile.

What's happening: Trump family members are weighing political races, a slate of former Cabinet members are set to speak at next week's CPAC meeting, and after laying low through his impeachment trial, Trump is vowing to battle Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to shape the GOP’s field for the 2022 midterms.

  • Trump on Wednesday used the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh for his first TV interview since leaving office, praising Limbaugh, whom he said also felt angry about the election because he thought Trump had won.
  • That followed Trump’s statement Tuesday declaring, “Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First.”

The Trump brand will be on vivid display at the Conservative Political Action Conference set to run next Thursday through Sunday in Orlando.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney was met with groans of "n-o-o-o-o" when he ended his 2008 presidential campaign with a speech at CPAC. This year, mainstream Republicans like him are persona non grata.
  • Instead, the speaking list reads like a Trump administration roster. Mike Pompeo, Ben Carson and Sarah Huckabee Sanders and rising stars like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, are scheduled to appear.
  • The former president is a possible headliner himself. After all, the event once held in Washington and then suburban Maryland has now been wholly relocated to Florida, Trump's home and the new locus for conservative power brokers.
  • Those who have broken with Trump — whether Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, or potential 2024 candidate Nikki Haley — are notable omissions at this point.

CPAC is organized by Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union. His wife, Mercedes, worked in Trump's communications shop, and Schlapp himself was in the news last month for receiving a six-figure payment trying to arrange presidential pardon for his client.

  • The website for the annual meeting, which is projected to attract up to 18,000 people over four days, is replete with images of Trump at the presidential podium and his daughter Ivanka.
  • She has been mentioned as potential challenger to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), while Lara Trump, wife of the former president's son Eric, has been mentioned as a more likely candidate for U.S. Senate in her native North Carolina.

What we’re watching: This year's theme for the conference is "America Uncanceled" — a jab at the cancel-culture that Republicans pin on Democrats and Silicon Valley tech companies that have banned Trump from Twitter and other social media platforms.

Go deeper

Trump: GOP senators “will not win again” if they support McConnell

Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell. Photos: Getty Images

Donald Trump went scorched earth on Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, releasing a long statement that hammered the GOP Senate leader in highly personal terms.

Why it matters: The blistering statement is vintage Trump, who frequently lashes out at critics. But it also shows the former president's attempt to remain atop the GOP power structure will mean tearing down every perceived internal obstacle.

Feb 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Lindsey Graham: "McConnell was indispensable to Donald Trump's success"

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox News' "Hannity" Tuesday night that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was "indispensable to Donald Trump's success," after the former president unleashed a scathing statement attacking the Kentucky senator in highly personal terms.

Why it matters: Graham, one of Trump's closest allies in the Senate, said that both McConnell and the former president are essential to Republicans' chances of taking control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections. The rift between the two most powerful leaders in the party threatens to permanently paralyze the GOP.

Updated Feb 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The daily highlights from Trump's 2nd Senate impeachment trial

Trucks with LED screens displaying anti-Trump messages in front of the Capitol. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 13 in his second impeachment trial, in which he was faced a single charge from the House of Representatives for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

The big picture: At five days, it was the fastest impeachment trial of a U.S. president and ended with the most bipartisan conviction vote in history. Still, the seven Republicans who joined all Democrats were not enough to reach the two-thirds majority necessary for conviction.