The double-edged sword: Republicans line up to beat Trump – and spark fears of a 2016 repeat where he can’t be beaten

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Memories of the tumultuous 2016 Republican primary hung over the Las Vegas ballroom this weekend during the first major gathering of the party’s potential contenders for the 2024 nomination.

No fewer than 10 White House prospects stepped onto the stage to pitch their plans to fix the nation — and their party. The details varied, but within most speeches was an extraordinary sense of defiance rarely seen since former President Donald Trump seized control of the Republican Party six years ago.

Their central message: Trump can and should be beaten.

Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, pledged in April that she wouldn’t challenge the former president if he ran again. But Saturday night, facing hundreds of cheering Republicans, she vowed to give “1,000%” to a White House bid if she decided to get in.

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