The anti-tax, fiscally conservative group Club for Growth has invited six possible Republican presidential contenders to its annual donor retreat next month, The New York Times reports, but opted against sending an invite to former President Donald Trump.
In an interview with reporters, the group’s president David McIntosh said Trump would diminish Republicans’ chances of taking back the White House, and he hopes “to introduce Republican donors to other possibilities.”
McIntosh suggested he blames Trump for Republicans’ poor performances in the past three election cycles. He did not cite personal animosity or ideological differences, claiming only that the 45th president is too toxic for general election voters.
The prominent conservative fundraising group will hold its annual gathering next month, when potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates, minus Trump, will mingle with donors. https://t.co/nCpcwl5CqS
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) February 8, 2023
The club clashed with Trump in the 2022 midterms, often endorsing opposing primary opponents—including in Ohio, where Trump’s late campaigning for J.D. Vance helped propel Vance to victory.
McIntosh has not made an endorsement but praised Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who is among the six he invited to meet with donors. The other five are former Vice President Mike Pence, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia. McIntosh declined to comment on whether any had accepted.
The retreat will be held in Florida where Trump now resides.
Trump responded to the Club for Growth’s snubbing on Truth Social: “The Club For NO Growth, an assemblage of political misfits, globalists, and losers, fought me incessantly and rather viciously during my presidential run in 2016. They said I couldn’t win, I did, and won even bigger in 2020, with millions of more votes than ‘16, but the Election was Rigged & Stollen. They asked to get together on Endorsements of candidates, we did, and had MANY WINS & NO losses. Relationship broke up over my Endorsement of certain great people in Alabama & Ohio. I won them all!”
🚨President Trump makes new statement on the Club for Growth. pic.twitter.com/DWDw7yulF3
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) February 7, 2023
McIntosh clashed with Trump in 2015 when then-candidate Trump called for a tax on Ford Motor Company for putting a manufacturing plant in Mexico rather than Tennessee. McIntosh claimed penalizing Ford for outsourcing American jobs would hurt the economy and cost American jobs.
Trump, in turn, called the club “a pack of thieves.”
“They [the Club for Growth] came to my office looking for money,” he told Breitbart News. “I turned them down. That’s why they’re after me.”