As Joe Biden's first full week in office drew to a close, the next generation of Republicans went to war with their own party.
The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump will soon kick off in the Senate, but Republican leaders eager to move past the former President's legacy are staring down a grassroots revolt from a base which continues to hold the real estate billionaire in high regard.
"You have the Trump wing of the party, wanting to purge those who have stood up to the President's lies, (and) you have the establishment wing of the party wanting to purge the party of Trump," former Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo told MSNBC this week.
"Right now, it's clear that the Trump wing is dominant."
It's true – a Morning Consult opinion poll released this week found Trump's standing among Republicans had actually improved since leaving office, with 50 per cent saying he should play a "major role" in the future of the party.
That's an increase of 9 per cent since the Capitol riots that left five dead. The survey also found 81 per cent of Republicans have a positive view of the former President.
Save America, a political action committee linked to Trump, boasted that his "popularity has never been stronger than it is today" in a statement after a meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Thursday.
McCarthy is a Trump ally who turned on the President over his role in the Capitol riots, but in recent weeks has walked back his position, telling a news conference that, "I don't believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally."
"Today, President Trump committed to helping elect Republicans in the House and Senate in 2022," McCarthy said in a statement after the meeting on Thursday.
"For the sake of our country, the radical Democrat agenda must be stopped. A united conservative movement will strengthen the bonds of our citizens and uphold the freedoms our country was founded on."
The meeting came after reports Trump was drawing up an enemies list of Republicans to target in primary challenges, armed with a $US70 million war chest.
While he has been relatively silent since leaving office and being banned from Twitter, behind closed doors Trump is said to be plotting revenge against Republicans he views as disloyal – either in opposing his claims of election fraud, or voting in the House to impeach him.
At the top of that list is Liz Cheney.
Matt Gaetz, a Florida Congressman and one of Trump's staunchest allies, kicked off the post-Trump era with the first political rally – targeting Cheney on her home turf of Wyoming, a state Trump won last year with nearly 70 per cent of the vote.
Around 750 to 1000 people turned up to the Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne on Thursday to hear the 38-year-old firebrand, as he calls himself, rail against "establishment" Republicans and Democrats.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, faced censure from the Wyoming Republican Party after she led a group of 10 colleagues to vote with Democrats in favour of impeaching Trump earlier this month.
"Our battle is no longer just Republican versus Democrat, it's not just red team versus blue team," Gaetz told the rowdy crowd, some of whom bore signs reading, "Impeach Liz Cheney".
"Absolutely not — we've got to put America first. Those are the old battles of yesteryear. But people have always come to the great frontiers of Wyoming to win the future — that's why I'm here. Liz Cheney is a lot like Congress — deeply unpopular and owned by special interests. She's taken more money from PACs (political action committees) than people. She works for them, not you."
Gaetz, echoing Trump's familiar "America First" themes, argued that "the truth is that the establishment in both political parties have teamed up to screw our fellow Americans for generations".
"The private insider club of Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney, they want to return our government to its default setting – enriching them," he said.
"Making them more powerful at our expense, but we can stop and it starts right here in Wyoming."
Donald Trump Jr phoned into the rally at one point, making a joke referencing a 2006 incident in which Dick Cheney accidentally shot another man while hunting.
"It seems like Liz Cheney's favourables there are only slightly worse than her father's shooting skills," the former president's son said. "Since the people of Wyoming are clearly not thrilled with Liz Cheney, let's find someone who can replace her."
Before the rally, an unnamed staffer for Cheney dismissed it as a publicity stunt, telling CNN, Gaetz "can leave his beauty bag at home" because" in Wyoming, the men don't wear make-up" – linking to a video of the Congressman talking about putting on make-up for a TV appearance.
At the event, Gaetz hit back that make-up "only hides the slightest imperfections of the skin, it does very little to conceal the soulless corruption of Washington DC".
While betting markets still have Trump as the favourite to be the Republican nominee in 2024, four years is a long time and nothing is certain these days.
Even if he avoids conviction in the Senate – which could also see him banned from holding public office – he would be 78 by that stage.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose brash style and hard-line policies most closely resemble that of the former president, is widely held up as the most logical successor to Trump.
Last year, in response to the Black Lives Matter rioting in other states, he drafted "anti-mob" legislation that would allow people to shoot looters.
And like Trump, he has railed against Covid-19 lockdowns.
"Lockdowns don't cure anything," he told Fox News this week.
"They haven't worked to stop the spread. We wanted to trust people. People are just happier down in Florida because you don't have the weight of the lockdown weighing everybody down."
DeSantis also frequently engages in aggressive sparring matches with reporters, with several clips going viral on Twitter.
In one such incident, he pushed back on a journalist who asked about the police raid on the home of Rebekah Jones, a former Florida Department of Health analyst and self-described whistleblower who was charged with illegally accessing the state computer system.
"It's not a raid – with all due respect, what you've just said is editorialising," he replied, before getting in a testy, finger-pointing back and forth.
"Excuse me, excuse me, no. I'm not going to let you get away with it. These people did their jobs, they've been smeared as the Gestapo for doing their jobs. They did a search warrant."
In another fiery exchange earlier this month, DeSantis refused to let a CNN reporter finish her question after she began to ask what had "gone wrong with the rollout of the vaccine".
"There's a lot of demand, I think at the end of the day – excuse me, excuse me," he said.
"If I could complete the question, though," the reporter said.
"So are you going to give a speech or are you going to ask a question?" he replied. "You asked the question, I'm going to answer it."
Joe Concha, media and politics columnist for The Hill, argued earlier this month that Trump's "very real possibility" of a 2024 rematch ended after the Capitol riots.
"As for who picks up Trump's voters, look no further than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of the very few active politicians whom the President's supporters would happily embrace as a younger heir apparent," Concha wrote.
Trump himself gave a particularly bizarre endorsement back in 2019 – when he bragged about seeing DeSantis topless.
Introducing the Governor during a campaign rally in Sunrise, Florida, he told the crowd DeSantis was in great physical shape, but that he used to think he was fat when he saw him on TV.
"I always thought Ron was a little bit heavy," he said.
"One day I am with him and I pat him on the shoulder and I go, 'Whoa! That's strong.' That's a lot of muscle there. My hand didn't sink in like it does with a lot of people. And then I see him without a shirt one day, and this guy is strong. He's not fat. That's all power. That's all muscle. I want to tell you that. I said, 'Ron, you're one of the few I say it to – don't walk around with a jacket all the time. Take it off.'"
Unfortunately, a spokeswoman for DeSantis clarified to the South Florida Sun Sentinel the following day that Trump had probably meant to say he saw the Governor without a jacket, not without a shirt, when the two played golf together.
Governor DeSantis "needs to lean into this", conservative commentator David Reaboi tweeted earlier this month, sharing the article.
"American Putin," one Twitter user joked.