As Donald Trump Asserts Dominance of GOP, Super PAC Launches to Shield His Republican Foes

A super PAC has launched to shield GOP lawmakers who stood against Donald Trump during the impeachment process, as the former president aired grudges against them in his Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) speech.

Trump listed Republican representatives who voted to impeach him in the House and Senators who subsequently voted to convict him during his speech as he addressed the conference on Sunday, branding them "grandstanders."

Commenting on future elections, he spoke of them potentially losing their positions in Congress suggesting voters might "get rid of them all."

Amid these lawmakers who opposed Trump facing criticism, Americans Keeping Country First has launched—which describes itself on its website as "the only Super PAC dedicated solely to defending the members of Congress who took votes of conscience to impeach or convict President Trump after rioters stormed the Capitol complex on January 6th, 2021."

One of the group's advisors Mario Castillo said in a statement to The Washington Post: "Americans Keeping Country First has a clearly defined mission to provide air cover for the members of Congress who took votes of conscience to impeach or convict President Trump."

There were 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump. All of their seats will be up for a vote in 2022. Seven Republican senators also voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial.

Those who broke with Trump have faced criticism from his allies and many have also been targeted by censures from state parties. Trump-aligned primary challengers have also emerged.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is one of those who has faced a backlash, and the new super PAC comes after he announced a PAC called Country First. This aims to challenge the Trump-leaning wing of the GOP.

"Republicans must say enough is enough. It's time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality, and cast aside the conspiracy theories and the rage," Kinzinger said in a video launching the PAC in January.

After listing the Republicans who went against him on impeachment, Trump went on to criticize Republicans who "do not stick together," and spoke of what he brands "RINOS," standing for Republicans in name only.

"I'm announcing that I will be actively working to elect strong, tough and smart Republican leaders," Trump said, after making these criticisms.

As he voiced his desire to have sway over the GOP, he rejected the suggestion he would set up a breakaway movement.

Trump had previously indicated he could back candidates more aligned with his views. In a statement in February he said: "I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First."

The former president also hinted at the prospect of a 2024 run in his speech.

A straw poll of CPAC attendees showed him as the favorite for the Republican presidential candidacy in 2024. Polling has previously shown him as being the frontrunner.

Newsweek has attempted to contact Americans Keeping Country First and has contacted the Office of the Former President for comment.

donald trump at CPAC event
Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. He took aim at Republican lawmakers who broke with him in regard to his second impeachment. Joe Raedle/Getty Images