Trump to say he is 2024’s ‘presumptive nominee’
Donald Trump will reportedly tell the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida this week that he is the Republicans’ presumptive 2024 nominee for president.
Trump will address the CPAC on Sunday, his subject being the future of the party he took over in the 2016 primary then led from the White House through four tumultuous years.
Yesterday, citing anonymous sources, the news site Axios reported his plan to assume the mantle of challenger to Joe Biden – or another Democrat, should the 78-year-old president decide not to run again.
An unnamed “longtime adviser” was quoted as saying Trump’s speech to the rightwing event would be a “show of force” with the message: “I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I’m still in charge.”
The former president’s close adviser Jason Miller said: “Trump effectively is the Republican party. The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you’re attacking the Republican grassroots.”
Thousands have left the party since the US Capitol riot of 6 January, which Trump incited in his attempt to overturn an election defeat he has not yet conceded, and in which five people including a police officer died.
Trump lost his Twitter account, his favoured means of communication throughout his time in office, and access to other social media over his lies and inflammatory behaviour before, during and after the mob attack on Congress.
Polling of Republicans who have not left the party, however, shows the former president with a clear lead over a range of potential 2024 candidates, supportive of him or not, in a notional primary.
Ten members of the House voted to impeach Trump a second time over the Capitol attack and seven senators voted with Democrats to convict him. That was short by 10 votes of the majority needed, but it made it the most bipartisan impeachment ever.
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, voted to acquit but then turned on Trump, branding him responsible for events at the Capitol. But House leaders have not followed suit, as they deal with vocal extremists in their caucus and the party base.
As Trump lashed out at McConnell, calling him “a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack”, so Republicans in the House and Senate who turned against Trump have been censured by state parties and reported vitriol aimed at them from the party grassroots – and even family members.
Trump’s grip on his party is clear. New polling from Suffolk University in Boston and USA Today showed 46% of Trump voters would follow him if he formed his own party, while 42% said his impeachment had strengthened their support.
The same poll said 58% of Trump voters subscribed to an outright conspiracy theory: that the Capitol riot was “mostly a [leftwing] antifainspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters”.
In reality, many of more than 250 individuals charged over the attack have been found to have links to farright groups.
On Sunday a key member of the House leadership, Steve Scalise, repeatedly refused to say that Trump had lost the election or bore responsibility for the mob attack on the Capitol.
The former Republican strategist Stuart Stevens said Scalise was “saying that America isn’t a democracy. That’s become the new standard of the Republican party. Not since 1860s has a large part of the country refused to accept [an] election. The Republican party is an anti-democratic force.”
Axios’s source reportedly said: “Much like 2016, we’re taking on Washington again.”
A “hugely important” collection of modern drawings, which the head of the Courtauld Gallery says push the boundaries of what the art form can be, has been gifted to the gallery.
The London gallery said the 25 works by artists including Cézanne, Kandinsky and Klee were one of the most significant gifts of art it had received in a generation. They were assembled by the collector Howard Karshan, who died in 2017, and presented in his memory by his widow, Linda, an artist herself.
Ernst Vegelin, head of the gallery, said the gift was “important beyond its size” because of the gaps it filled and the nature of the works.
The gallery has one of the nation’s great drawing collections, with 7,000 works by artists who include Leonardo, Rembrandt and Rubens.
“It is also one of the most active collections in terms of exhibitions and displays and loans,” said Vegelin. “Despite that, our representation of draughtsmanship in the 20th century is hesitant so this gives us a fantastic new chapter in the collection and a great basis for future growth.
“Other than Cézanne, none of the artists in the gift are in the collection at all. No Kandinsky, no Klee and so forth, so this brings them in, where they belong.”
There are drawings by great names but also “astonishing and revelatory” works by artists less well known to the wider public. For example, an explosively colourful work by the Californian abstract expressionist Sam Francis; and abstract works by Henri Michaux made while he was tripping on mescaline.
There are also two works by the Swiss artist Louis Soutter, who was put in a home for elderly men when he was 52. After he developed osteoarthritis, Soutter would dip his fingers in ink and work directly on paper.
The results were astonishing, said Vegelin, describing one work, which has figures swaying frieze-like, as “a drop-dead masterpiece”, adding: “When I first saw it, it stopped me literally in my tracks.”
Vegelin said the artworks made a case for drawing on its own terms, not just as preparatory studies for paintings. “It is not a collection that someone has put together from a reference book. It is a collection with real edge and bite and character that really gets under the skin of drawing as an art form.”
The works, which also include examples by Cy Twombly, Georg
Baselitz and Joseph Beuys, were “gutsy, full-on drawing as selfexpression, really pushing the boundaries of the medium and exploring the edges of draughtsmanship”.
Linda Karshan said her husband was as passionate about studying his drawings as he was about collecting them. “He carefully positioned them on the walls around him, so as to be able to have his favourites within sight.
“These are the drawings that make up the Karshan gift. At the Courtauld they will find their natural home, where they can be in the public eye while being studied for generations to come, echoing the role these drawings played within our family for over 50 years,” she said.
The Courtauld is home to one of Europe’s greatest art collections, with masterpieces that include Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. The drawings will go on display when it reopens in late 2021 following a £50m, three-year renovation project.
Vegelin said both Karshan and the gallery wanted people to be inspired by the works.
“What is this going to do for people for decades to come? What will be the serendipitous moments when a young student sees the Soutter and the scales fall from their eyes and they realise what they can do, what the possibilities are?”
‘At the Courtauld they will find their natural home, where they can be in the public eye’ Linda Karshan, artist Widow of Howard, below left