Trump news – live: Ex-president caught misusing official Seal as he plans Texas rally amid DeSantis rift

Donald Trump is catching flak for deploying a modified version of an official government seal in an announcement about a new golf course. Beyond questions of taste, the announcement – sent out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – was met with questions about whether Mr Trump is using taxpayers’ money officially granted to him as a former president to promote his private business interests.

As speculation about a rift between Mr Trump and Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to grow, aides to the former president have blamed the story not just on the media but on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Their rationale, as issued via anonymous quotes, is that Mr DeSantis fuelled the latest stories by criticizing Mr Trump’s lockdown policies on a podcast run by a former McConnell adviser.

Mr McConnell’s office has so far declined to comment on the story, though it is commonly agreed that he and the former president have been at daggers drawn since the 6 January insurrection last year.

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Trump’s next stop: Conroe, Texas

Having met with a warm reception in Arizona this weekend, Donald Trump has another rally on his schedule for 29 January. His destination this time will be Conroe, Texas, which sits just north of Houston.

The state, which at one point in 2020 was thought to be within Joe Biden’s reach, is home to some of Mr Trump’s loudest and proudest supporters, among them Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott – both of whom are thought to be likely presidentical contenders if the ex-president does not or cannot run in 2024.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Mr Trump has already doled out endorsements in 20 of Texas’s various primary races, with more expected as the electoral clock counts down towards November.

Australians mock Trump fans dismayed at Novak Djokovic standoff

After Australian authorities finally forced tennis star Novak Djokovic to leave the country because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, many MAGA supporters took to social media to tweet their dismay – some of them declaring that “#AustraliaHasFallen” and calling the country a “prison”.

Many Australians, angry that Djokovic sought an exemption after they endured some of the world’s most punishing Covid-19 restrictions, have responded with mirth.

Gino Spocchia has the story.

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