Trump huddling with advisers on 2022 game plan, but insiders say former president makes the ‘real decisions'

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The king of the GOP is gathering his court.

Former President Donald Trump is expected to meet Wednesday with several members of his political team as well as outside advisers to discuss potential endorsements and races to emphasize in this year’s midterm elections. But what decisions are hammered out at the gathering is debatable.

Trump, one year removed from the White House, remains very popular and influential with the conservative base of the Republican Party as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in GOP politics while he repeatedly flirts with another White House run in 2024.

Former President Trump speaks during a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Ariz., southeast of Phoenix, Jan. 15, 2022.
(Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The huddle at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, comes as Trump’s already made over 80 endorsements in 2022 races, from Senate, governor and other statewide contests all the way down the ballot to state legislative elections. But he has yet to endorse in high-profile, crucial and crowded GOP primaries for Senate in Arizona, Missouri and Ohio, nor has he backed a contender in competitive gubernatorial primaries in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Complicating matters is that different Trump advisers are backing rival candidates in many of these races where the former president has yet to make an endorsement. Or in the case of the combustible GOP Senate primary in battleground Pennsylvania, Trump has yet to make another endorsement. 

In Pennsylvania, Trump backed Sean Parnell for an open U.S. Senate seat, but Parnell ended his bid in November, immediately after he lost a bitter custody fight for his three children to his estranged wife, who in court testimony had accused Parnell of abuse.

The significance of the upcoming meeting, which was first reported by CNN, was downplayed by pair of political sources in the former president’s orbit.

“Donald Trump makes every decision and doesn’t need a committee to tell him who he should endorse,” one adviser, who asked for anonymity to speak more freely, told Fox News. 

The source said that such meetings are “not where any real decisions get made” and emphasized that “the real work gets done with him.”

Another adviser, who also asked to remain anonymous, noted that Trump, rather than his team of aides and outside advisers, “is driving the train more so than ever before.”

2024 cattle call

Trump will be speaking at the Republican National Committee’s spring retreat for top-dollar donors. 

But the former president won’t be the only potential 2024 GOP White House hopeful attending the gathering, which will be held in New Orleans March 4-6. 

According to an invitation obtained by Fox News, former Vice President Pence; former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration; and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, are also featured guests at the retreat.

Pence returning to first-in-the-South presidential primary state

Pence in the spring will head back to South Carolina, the state that holds the third contest in the Republican presidential nominating calendar.

The former vice president in May will speak at a dinner on behalf of the Carolina Pregnancy Center, a Christian facility that provides counseling, supplies and adoption services to women who decide to go through with unplanned pregnancies. News of the trip was first reported by the AP and confirmed by Fox News.

The center, located in Spartanburg in the state’s conservative northwest corner, has become a must stop for some GOP presidential hopefuls in recent election cycles, as the White House hopefuls flock to South Carolina to showcase their pro-life credentials in front of the state’s social conservative Republican primary voters.

Former Vice President Mike Pence takes part in a "fireside chat" with approximately 400 pastors gathered at the First Baptist Church of Columbia in Columbia, S.C., April 29, 2021.
(Fox News)

Last April, Pence made South Carolina his first stop In one of the four early voting presidential primary and caucus states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada). He headlined a gathering with pastors and later keynoted a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a conservative Christian nonprofit in the capital city of Columbia.

Pence on Saturday addressed the annual National Pro-Life Summit, which was held in the nation’s capital.

During his long political career as a congressman from Indiana to the Midwestern state’s governor to vice president in the Trump administration, Pence has long been known as a friend of social conservatives as he’s pushed for restrictions on abortion.

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