The Republican National Committee (RNC) has been planning for its annual winter meeting, set for Amelia Island, Florida, on Thursday, with several top party officials slated to address attendees.
According to The Hill, however, Vice President Mike Pence is not expected to deliver a speech as had been previously anticipated.
“Didn’t have the courage”
Although Pence had not been formally added to the roster of speakers, a number of likely 2024 White House contenders were expected to make appearances, leading to the assumption that the vice president would be among them.
It was unclear from early reports whether the events of this week played any role in his apparent decision to skip the RNC meeting. Pence presided over the congressional ratification of Electoral College votes declaring Joe Biden the winner of November’s presidential election, angering some Republicans who believe fraud was a major factor in the results of that race.
In a tweet that was subsequently blocked by Twitter, President Donald Trump took aim at his vice president for not standing in opposition to the allegedly fraudulent vote count.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify,” Trump wrote. “USA demands the truth!”
As for the meeting, reports indicate that it began on Tuesday and was scheduled to last for four days.
“Donald Trump’s Republican Party”
The chief issues expected to be discussed by Republican attendees are the party’s path forward as a minority in D.C. as well as a plan to deal with potential GOP leadership changes.
In the wake of a riot on Wednesday on Capitol Hill and the discovery of explosive devices at the headquarters of the RNC and Democratic National Committee, the Republican Party issued a statement condemning the “violent scenes” that were broadcast from the nation’s capital throughout the day.
For his part, Trump had been expected to deliver a keynote address at the event on Thursday evening, but instead spoke to the RNC breakfast that morning by phone, at which time he was greeted with cheers by many in attendance.
Despite the dwindling number of days left in his current term, Trump is still widely seen as the head of his party, as his son, Donald Trump, Jr., explained in a message ahead of the protest in D.C.
“It should be a message to all the Republicans who have not been willing to actually fight, the people who did nothing to stop the steal,” the younger Trump said, according to the U.K.’s Indepedent. “This gathering should send a message to them: This isn’t their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party.”