Former President Donald Trump appeared at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, delighting fans in the red state.
Mr Trump was seen in videos at the event with Kimberly Guilfoyle, his eldest son Don Jr.’s partner. It wasn’t immediately clear if Mr Trump Jr. or other family members were also at the derby.
Saturday’s derby took place at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, where Longshot competitor Rich Strike won the most famous of the Triple Crown races. The state’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps attended.
Mr. Trump’s visit to Kentucky this weekend served more than one purpose as he works to solidify his control of the GOP.
His Super PAC hosted a $75,000 per person fundraiser at the event The New York Times, on the home turf of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of his greatest rivals in the GOP. Mr. McConnell was not present at the event.
Kentucky is solid Trump territory, with Mr. Trump winning the state in the 2020 election by nearly 30 points over Joe Biden. Saturday’s derby took place at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, where Longshot competitor Rich Strike won the most famous of the Triple Crown races.
The former president has long embraced Mr McConnell’s 2020 victory over Amy McGrath, a well-funded Democratic opponent who nonetheless lost all of the state’s counties to the minority leader in 2020.
Mr Trump also reportedly called Mr McConnell the “dumb son of Ab****” at a private meeting for Republican donors last year.
Mr McConnell is expected to retain control of the Senate GOP next year if his party wins control of the chamber in November’s midterm elections. His fortune is the complete opposite of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is expected to face a challenge for the Speaker’s gavel should the GOP take control of the House in January. Mr McCarthy has struggled to stay on the former president’s good side, even in regular conversations with Mr Trump in Mar-a-Lago and on the phone, even as he faces a steady drip of leaks regarding comments that he did about Mr Trump in the days and hours immediately after the January 6 attack.
Mr Trump’s efforts at this weekend’s derby are part of a campaign to maintain a massive war chest that will surpass the combined treasury balances of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) by the end of 2021.
While he has shown no signs of stopping his fundraising juggernaut, Mr Trump has been slow to spend the money raised. He has yet to submit a 2024 White House bid, with all signs pointing to a possible announcement after November’s midterm elections.
Most GOP candidates who have received his endorsement to date have received little reward in the form of financial support. The notable exception to this rule is the Georgia primary, where Mr. Trump has poured half a million into efforts to unseat Governor Brian Kemp for refusing to help the former president overthrow the 2020 election.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-attends-kentucky-derby-b2074249.html Donald Trump attends a $75,000 fundraiser at the Kentucky Derby