Pro-Trump Crowds, Sensing Disloyalty, Drown Dissent

Not long ago, names in the marquee would have been right at home on Fox News: Stephen K. Bannon, Tucker Carlson, and Roger J. Stone Jr.

But Fox News ousted Mr Carlson three months ago, and Mr Bannon, Mr Stone and the boisterous pro-Trump crowd at the Turning Point Action Conference are eager to take shots at the conservative network, arguing that it hasn't been supportive enough. former President Donald J. Trump as he seeks to regain his lost office in 2020.

At the two-day gathering, with thousands of pro-Trump activists attending this weekend in South Florida, derision flew Sunday at mentions of Rupert Murdoch, the Fox media mogul, as well as Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

And after Mr. Trump addressed this crowd on Saturday, one of his Republican rivals for the party's 2024 presidential nomination took the stage at their own peril.

In his speech on Sunday, Mr. Bannon, Mr. Trump's former chief strategist who was found guilty of insulting Congress, suggested that Mr. Murdoch had used Fox News to tout Republican governors of battleground states to undermine Mr Trump's candidacy. He quoted Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, Trump's main rival in the party, as trailing him about 30 percentage points in national opinion polls, as a cautionary tale.

“Come on down,” said Mr. Bannon. “Take it because we will destroy you like we destroyed DeSantis.”

Mr Bannon – host of a far-right podcast, which he uses to promote election lies and conspiracy theories – criticized Fox News for its lack of coverage of the pro-Trump conclave and called Mr Trump's political battles a “jihad”. ”

“Donald Trump is our instrument of reprisal,” he said.

Although Fox News did not broadcast the event on its main network, it did feature conference addresses by Mr Trump and other Republican candidates on Fox Nation, his subscription streaming service. A Fox Corporation spokesperson declined to comment on Murdoch's behalf.

Two of Trump's Republican arch foes — Asa Hutchinson, former Governor of Arkansas; and Francis X. Suarez, mayor of Miami—experienced the wrath of Trump supporters firsthand Sunday as they were heckled and jeered.

When Mr. Suarez, who is The Miami Herald has reportedly been under an FBI investigation into a corruption case, stepped up to the microphone, several people in the crowd shouted “traitor.”

He responded by citing his Cuban-American heritage and saying that voices of disapproval are welcome in America, not the way it was in his ancestor's home country.

“It's okay to have a little hate,” said Mr Suarez. Later, he asked conservative activists to join his campaign.

Mr. Hutchinson broke off as the crowd began chanting Mr. Trump's name, and one of his biggest lines of applause came when he named his successor in the Arkansas governor's office: Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mr. Trump's former White House press secretary.

Contrary to cross-talking for much of his speech, Mr Hutchinson said Republicans needed to respect people with different opinions.

At the conference, attendees could stick sticky notes on the Republican candidate's cut-out head.

A man puts a homophobic slur in the face of Mike Pence, Trump's former vice president. Then, it appears to have been removed. But stickers branding Pence a “traitor” for refusing to cancel the 2020 election on January 6, 2021 covered his face.

In the cut Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and ambassador for Mr. Trump for the United Nations, one sticky note read: “Women in Politics? Disgusting.”

At the peak of the event on Saturday, about 6,000 people filled the Palm Beach County Convention Center to hear Trump speak for nearly 100 minutes. Mr. Carlson mused about his firing from Fox News in April.

In his speech on Sunday, Mr Stone, who has a felony conviction pardoned by Mr Trump, claimed federal prosecutors had offered him a deal to dredge Mr Trump in wrongdoing and recalled the early morning FBI raid on his South Florida home in 2019 during which he is arrested.

“I said, ‘You can go to hell,'” he said.