Three-quarters of Republicans told Quinnipiac University pollsters that they want former President Donald Trump to play a prominent role in the Republican Party, according to a survey released two days after Trump’s acquittal.
The national poll, which was carried out on a representative sample of 1,056 adults, found that 75 percent of Republican respondents said Trump should play a major role in the GOP going forward, with that number dropping to 34 percent if all categories of respondents are considered.
At the same time, 87 percent of Republicans said they think Trump should not be barred from holding future office, with that number dropping to 43 percent if Democrats and Independents are included in the polling mix.
“He is certainly not out of favor with the GOP. Twice impeached, vilified by Democrats in the trial, and virtually silenced by social media… despite it all, Donald Trump keeps a solid foothold in the Republican Party,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in a Feb. 15 release.
On Feb. 13, the Senate voted 57-43 to convict Trump, 10 votes shy of the 67 needed for conviction. The vote cleared Trump of the charge of “incitement of insurrection,” an allegation that his lawyers denounced as a “monstrous lie” that didn’t reflect the reality of what happened on Jan. 6, when the U.S. Capitol was breached and overrun.
“An insurrection—unlike a riot—is an organized movement acting for the express purpose to overthrow and take possession of a government’s powers,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in filings, arguing that the former president’s speech “was not an act encouraging an organized movement to overthrow the United States government.”
Trump’s acquittal was widely seen as a foregone conclusion ahead of the trial after 45 Republicans voted to declare the proceeding unconstitutional.
In a statement following his acquittal, Trump denounced the impeachment effort and thanked his supporters.
“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country,” Trump said.
Trump also teased a political comeback, saying that, “our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a prominent figure in the GOP, said he is planning to hold discussions with Trump about the Republican Party’s future.
Graham told reporters in Washington on Friday that he wants Trump to work with the GOP in its bid to flip the House of Representatives and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.
“I’m going to try and convince him that we can’t get there without you, but you can’t keep the Trump movement going without the GOP united,” Graham said. “If we come back in 2022, then it’s an affirmation of your policies. But if we lose again in 2022, then it’s going to be—the narrative is going to continue that not only you lost the White House, but the Republican Party is in a bad spot.”
“Trump’s got to work with everybody,” Graham added. “You got to put your best team on the field. If it’s about revenge and going after people you don’t like, we’re going to have a problem. If this is about putting your best team on the field, we’ve got a decent chance at coming back.”
Trump has remained out of sight since leaving office on Jan. 20, releasing few statements and primarily communicating through intermediaries.
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump’s 2020 campaign, said last month that Trump will “make sure” Republicans win the House in 2022.
“He’s got a ton of money. He’s the biggest name. He’s going to get that done,” he said on Steve Bannon’s “War Room.”