At an April 9 rally in North Carolina, the former president seemed to be pleased with the president of the Growth Club. “He’s a winner. He’s a fighter. We’re not defeated when we work together,” Trump said, welcoming the conservative power broker to stage.
Macintosh replied, “You’re a great guy… I’m so proud to partner with you.”
Annoyed by the Macintosh challenge, Trump reportedly asked a moderator to deliver a short text message to him.
The two men have not spoken since, according to a person close to Trump. On Wednesday, the club launched a new ad once again targeting Vance for his past criticism of Trump and highlighting former Trump’s endorsement of Mitt Romney’s 2018 Senate campaign in Utah.
Macintosh’s quick exile from Trump World has left some Republican candidates reeling. Meanwhile, four people familiar with the situation said the Growth Club is grappling with frustrated board members and donors, who fear its influence will decline if he doesn’t quickly fix things with Trump. It’s the latest episode in the former president’s quest for individual influence over the Republican Party, further underlining Trump’s expectation that allies will either bend to his will or turn away from him.
But even if the club agrees to regain a foothold in the Trump process after the presidency, some of his allies are planning to urge the former president to keep the group away.
“The Growth Club is the only destructive force among these outside groups in Republican politics. If you go to list any policy that is at the heart of Trump’s economic plan — except for corporate tax cuts — they oppose it,” said Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, who has long been a podcaster. War Room” is a platform for the club’s most ardent critics.
Peter Navarro, a former White House trade adviser, said in one episode: “The Globalization Club is basically one of the class… fundamentally pushing this global elitist agenda that has been night-to-day… Donald Trump and the MAGA movement.” from the programme.
Another person close to Trump, who asked not to be named to speak frankly, said the group’s tough resistance to protectionist trade and industrial policies is inconsistent with the MAGA platform.
“McIntosh cheated Trump, and I think he realizes it,” said this person.
A Trump spokesman declined to comment on the situation.
Club for Growth spokesman Joe Keldia said Macintosh and Trump “have worked well together in the past and will do well in the future,” before declining to respond to other requests for comment.
Keldia also indicated that the group intends to continue supporting Mandel and Alabama Senate candidate Moe Brooks, whom Trump rescinded in March due to the congressman’s desire to move forward from the 2020 election.
“We are delighted to have the club’s support and that doesn’t change much of what we’re doing here,” said Will Hampson, Brooks’ campaign press secretary.
Some Trump aides and allies said the former president’s relationship with Macintosh was already at an impasse before the club doubled down on its Ohio strategy.
They said Trump has complained in recent months about the imbalance in the relationship even as the group spent millions supporting Trump-backed candidates in tough primaries who received minimal contributions from Trump himself. While the former president continued to host McIntosh, a former Indiana congressman, at Mar-a-Lago to seek his advice on various contests and candidates, meanwhile, the Allies realized that the club’s president wasn’t fully committed to his 2022 recruits.
One ally said Trump was particularly upset that the club did not endorse or provide assistance to Harriet Hagman, the Wyoming congressional candidate who is challenging incumbent Representative Liz Cheney in one of the former president’s most high-profile efforts to oust his opponents in Congress. the Republican Party.
“They spend money when they get Trump to endorse the candidates they want, but they just haven’t moved for the things Trump wants,” said the Trump ally.
Two people familiar with the matter said the former president also got wind of recently that Macintosh was telling Republican friends and candidates that he would be a top candidate for White House chief of staff if Trump successfully runs for president in 2024. During his time in office, chiefs of staff are known to have become Angry at people who pretend to be closer to him than they really are.
“(Macintosh) was pushing the narrative that he was the gatekeeper of Trump’s approvals, which inevitably went back to Trump, and that put a target on his back,” said one of Trump’s advisers.
In another case, Trump was upset with Macintosh when he arrived for a meeting with Mandel. Trump, who has not invited the Ohio Senate he hopes to join, said a person close to him that Trump was surprised.
Trump Jr. worker
Although the former president has refrained from publicly punishing Macintosh so far, his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has done his best to turn his father’s supporters against the Growth Club and is now actively campaigning against Mandel in the final days before Ohio State. Primary next week.
Trump did nothing to stop his son’s public crusade against the club or Mandel, who both lobbied hard for the former president’s endorsement before Trump announced his support for Vance.
In tweets, videos and campaign appearances, the younger Trump has described the club as a dove in China and a friend of the establishment – two cardinal faults in the MAGA world. Amid the club’s refusal to remove its anti-Vance ads last week, Trump Jr. shared a video on Twitter depicting Mandel as warm with three of the establishment’s icons: Romney, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the late Arizona Senn. John McCain.
“Ohio Friends – Meet the real JoshMandelOhio. The China Growth Club supported the Enterprise candidate in the #OHSen race,” he wrote above the clip.
However, that same person said Trump Jr. does not plan to target candidates he supports who have previously secured club endorsements — US Representative Ted Budd and venture capitalist Blake Masters, who are running for Senate in North Carolina and Arizona, respectively. .
But that hasn’t stopped a wave of candidates and donors to the club from expressing their concerns about the group’s fractured relationship with the 45th president.
Two people familiar with the matter said that a Trump-allied adviser had received calls from several GOP candidates, who were concerned that Trump Jr. would go after them for their club affiliation. One of those people, who works on a high-profile campaign in the Senate, said their candidate had stopped soliciting endorsement from the club, considering it a potential political liability.
One of the club’s donors, who asked not to be named to speak frankly, said Macintosh should have defused the situation with Trump rather than redouble the order by buying a bigger ad against Vance. This benefactor declined to say if they had directly shared their frustrations with Macintosh, stating only that they wanted to see him mend his relationship with the former president.
Long before the club found itself facing Trump in the Ohio Senate primary, it endorsed other candidates competing against Trump-backed opponents.
In addition to sticking with Brooks after Trump withdrew his endorsement of the Alabama senator, the group backed former US Representative Matt Salmon in the Arizona primaries — putting it in direct opposition to former news anchor Carrie Lake, who has Trump’s enthusiastic support. .
The club’s PAC also endorsed Texas Representative Chip Roy in his bid for re-election. By comparison, Trump denounced Roy’s leadership ambitions last year and did not endorse the congressman, who voted to ratify the results of the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.
“He hasn’t done a great job and is likely to be successful in the primaries in his district,” Trump said of Roy last May as Texas congressman Elise Stefanik considered a challenge to the House GOP convention chair.
The club previously angered Trump and his advisers after they were left feeling that Macintosh had persuaded Trump to take the wrong approach to the primaries. Despite claiming in the North Carolina rally that he was “undefeated” when he teamed up with the group, Trump’s supporter Susan Wright lost the second round of Texas’s sixth congressional district special election in July to fellow Republican Jake Elsie. Advisers had urged Trump not to run into the race, but moved ahead of the first round of voting to support Wright after Macintosh persuaded him to do so.
“The Growth Club has taken Trump completely to the cleaners,” former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who backed Elsie, told Axios after the run-off. They put Donald J Trump in danger.”