Trump's big lie litmus test

Throughout his speech, the former president praised Republicans who have assisted him in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, such as Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Rudy Giuliani, and the lawmakers behind the Arizona audit. And Trump bashed those Republicans who didn’t help him advance the Big Lie, including his former vice president, Mike Pence; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

Before Trump took the stage, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk set the pace: “What kind of Republicans do we need to support? Republicans like Donald Trump.” The activist said he has “lost his patience” with “weak Republicans” who permitted a “mail-in ballot scam” and the “slow-motion transformation of our elections systems for good.” He went on:

“What upsets me the most is that this happened in Republican states. In this state and in Georgia. And, this needs to be said once and for all. If you were silent or complicit in what happened in the 2020 election, resign and go re-run as a Democrat. Get the heck out of the Republican Party!”

That particular message was both received and echoed enthusiastically by a slate of speakers seeking to prove their loyalty to Trump and earn his endorsement in their races. One line from GOP primary gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who was perhaps the most popular speaker aside from Trump, summed up the speakers’ posture: “I am a proud conservative and an unapologetic Trump Republican.”