Trump’s ‘Retribution’ Becomes Our ‘Reunification’

The leading Republican candidate calls for bipartisan cooperation after victory in Iowa.

Written by Erin Spellman

What’s happening: When former President Donald Trump won the Iowa caucus, he called for unity across the political spectrum. “This is the time now for everybody in our country to come together,” he urged. “I want to make this a very big part of our message. We're going to come together, it's going to happen.”

  • Previously: The firebrand former president called for unity in his 2019 State of the Union address when he appealed to Americans to “reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.”

Changing his tune? Trump's 2024 campaign message formerly centered around retaliation. He promised his supporters, “I am your retribution,” fostering an us-versus-them, revenge-fueled mindset against both the moderate wing of the party and the left.

  • Reconciliation: Trump used his Monday night victory speech to extend an olive branch invoking bipartisan cooperation, saying he is “not going to have time for retribution.”

  • Doubling down: Trump echoed the message of unity Thursday night in an interview with Sean Hannity.

The left reacts: Trump's message of unity did not resonate with his adversaries. President Biden attacked Trump supporters following the Iowa caucus, taking to X to claim, “This election was always going to be you and me vs. extreme MAGA Republicans.” ABC News and other left-leaning corporate media outlets broadcasted Trump's speech but did not air his calls for unity.

Why it matters: The first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary is right around the corner, and Trump's softer tone may resonate with the more moderate Granite Staters. His opponent, Nikki Haley, previously surged to over 30 percent in the New Hampshire polls and found strong support among moderate-identifying Republicans.

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