Donald Trump campaign plans to stop targeting Republican opponents

WASHINGTON – After two months of social media, campaign meetings and political battles, 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump is preparing to return to the public stage with messages aimed at potential Republican opponents — and potential criminal prosecutors.

The former president has lined up appearances in South Carolina and the Washington, D.C., area, designed in part to show support in the face of prominent Republicans who may run against him, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Trump is also entering a new phase of the campaign as prosecutors in Atlanta and Washington consider whether to seek charges over his handling of classified information and efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

Also: His political support has fallen, at least according to a variety of polls.

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Notice Republican opponents

Trump is scheduled to travel to Columbia, SC, on January 28 to unveil his “South Carolina Leadership Team.”

At the beginning of March, Trump will address CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Council, a coalition of conservative activists who help fuel its political growth. The CPAC meeting is March 1-4 at National Harbor, Md., near Washington, DC

While polls show softening support for Trump, his supporters in South Carolina include prominent names such as Governor Henry McMaster and US Senator Lindsey Graham.

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The Columbia event will be Trump’s first campaign event outside his Florida home base since he announced his 2024 campaign returns in mid-November.

Steven Cheung, the campaign’s communications director, said the South Carolina appearance and other planned events “will show that there is significant support behind him.”

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Trump’s problems

Trump must also try to answer Republicans who say he can’t win the general election and that the party should try to move on from him.

Many Republicans blame Trump for the party’s disappointing performance in last year’s election. The GOP won the House by less than 10 seatsand Trump-backed candidates lost potentially winnable Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona, costing Republicans control of the Senate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, RSC, left, stands with President Donald Trump during a campaign rally, in North Charleston, SC, on Feb. 28, 2020.

There were other struggles. Shortly after his announcement, Trump found himself under fire for hosting a dinner that included antisemites and white nationalists.

A USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll last month showed a decline in Republican support for the former Republican president.

“By 2-1, GOP and GOP voters now say they want Trump’s policies, but that a different standard bearer is holding them to it,” USA TODAY reported. “While 31% want the former president to run, 61% prefer another Republican candidate who continues the policies that Trump has pursued.”

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Attack the prosecutors

Opponents also point out that Trump may become the first major presidential candidate in history to run while under the indictment.

Trump has spent months attacking prosecutors as politically biased.

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Attorneys in Atlanta they are investigating him on pressure from Georgia election officials to overturn his loss of the state to Biden; in New York, about its past business practices; and in Washington, on its management of classified documents.

Special Counsel Jack Smitha frequent target of Trump’s venom, is also investigating his actions in the January 6, 2021, uprising in the United States Capitol.

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What Trump did

Trump and his allies are quick to point out that he has always led the Republican polls and still has the more campaign money and the highest name recognition in his party.

While he hasn’t held a public event outside of Florida since his Nov. 15 announcement, Trump and his campaign have hired staff and set up an office in South Florida.

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This article originally appeared in USA TODAY: Trump campaign plans include SC event, CPAC speech

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