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Trump and DeSantis court Moms for Liberty in a sign of the group’s rising influence over the GOP

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By ALI SWENSON and JILL COLVIN
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have courted conservative women at the Moms for Liberty conference in Philadelphia . The presence of former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at Friday’s event elevated a group that has gained substantial influence within the GOP with its fierce opposition to instruction related to race and gender identity in the nation’s classrooms. Both men appeared eager to out-flank the other as they labeled gender-affirming care “mutilation” and talked up their efforts to eliminate critical race theory. DeSantis vowed to “fight the woke,” while Trump blasted what he called  “the toxic poison of gender ideology” and “sick creed of woke communism.”

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