GOP Senate campaign arm awards Trump as he rails against McConnell

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) presented a new award to former President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been ‘so much worse’ without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid ‘white lives matter’ protest MORE over the weekend as GOP officials and fundraisers descended on Palm Beach, Fla., for a donor retreat. 

The NRSC’s inaugural Champion for Freedom Award was given to Trump by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who chairs the GOP’s Senate campaign committee. In a statement, the NRSC described the honor as intended for “conservative leaders who have worked tirelessly to create good jobs, protect the values that make our country great, and stop the Democrats’ socialist agenda.”

“President Trump fought for American workers, secured the border, and protected our constitutional rights,” Scott said. “We are grateful for his service to our country and are honored to present him with the NRSC’s first Champion for Freedom award.”

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That the NRSC would present Trump with a never-before-issued award isn’t entirely surprising, given the outsize influence the former president still carries among the GOP’s base of conservative voters. 

But its presentation also came during a weekend in which Trump railed against his perceived rivals within the GOP, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says ‘divisive’ Trump attacks on GOP officials are ‘unhelpful’ MORE (R-Ky.), whom Trump dubbed a “son of a bitch” in a fiery speech to donors on Saturday.

For his part, Scott, a longtime Trump ally who was named NRSC chair late last year, has sought to smooth things out between the former president and Republican leaders whom Trump has turned on in recent months. 

But his role atop the NRSC also threatens to put him at odds with Trump. As the group’s chair, Scott has vowed to support GOP Senate incumbents in next year’s midterm elections, including those, like Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump looms large over GOP donor retreat in Florida Top GOP super PAC endorses Murkowski amid primary threat Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE (R-Alaska), whom Trump has pledged to campaign against.

Despite those threats from Trump, Scott has dismissed the idea of a so-called Republican civil war, insisting that the GOP is poised to head into 2022 united.