Former president Donald Trump confirmed his commitment to help the Republican Party regain power in Washington, suggesting he may run again in 2024 and blasting his successor, Joe Biden, for a “disastrous” first month in office.
“I’m going to continue to fight right by your side,” Trump said on Sunday at the CPAC in Orlando. “We will do what we’ve begun right from the beginning, which is to win. We’re not starting new parties… We have the Republican Party. We’re are going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”
Trump stopped short of declaring he will run for office again, but he set off a huge ovation by hinting at a 2024 run. “Who knows? Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” Trump said, alluding to his 2016 victory, his disputed loss in 2020, and the next election 2024.
NEW: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time” – Donald Trump on seeking re-election as US President in 2024, continuing to reject legitimacy of @JoeBiden as winner of 2020 election. pic.twitter.com/Fx2MmB2bD1
— Afshin Rattansi (@afshinrattansi) February 28, 2021
Trump made it clear that he will seek to remain a powerful force in Republican politics. “I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together… four years ago is far from being over,” he said. “This movement is just getting started, and in the end, we will win.”
Trump took aim at President Biden, labeling the Democrat’s first 30 days in office “the most disastrous first month” of any president in modern history. Continuing his wide-ranging onslaught against the president, he argued that the new administration has quickly taken the country further left than advertised, describing Biden’s presidential campaign as “all lies.” Trump accused the Democratic Party of being “anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-economy, anti-energy and anti-women and anti-science.”
The former president blasted Biden’s immigration reforms aimed at dismantling some of his own hard-line policies, calling them “not just illegal,” but also “immoral” and “a betrayal of our nation’s core values.” Among other things, Trump criticized Biden for immediately ending the travel ban that blocked entry for most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea. The Republican also took a swipe at the Biden administration for rejoining the Paris climate accord, arguing that Biden should have negotiated a better deal if he was hellbent on returning to the agreement.
“In one short month, we’ve gone from America first to America last,” Trump charged.
On the issue of school reopenings, Trump accused Biden of caving to pressure from teacher unions, urging the Democratic administration to immediately get them reopened. Accusing Biden of “killing” over 40,000 jobs with the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline, Trump argued that the the US will lose its energy independence under the new administration. “You’re going to see costs go like you’ve never seen them before,” he said.
A straw poll of CPAC participants, released on Sunday, showed that Trump retains dominating support from the conservative wing of the Republican Party. He was picked as the top potential 2024 GOP presidential nominee by 55 percent of respondents. Some 95 percent said they want the party to continue with Trump’s agenda and policies, regardless of whether he runs for president in 2024.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was a distant No. 2 at 21 percent, benefiting from a recent surge in popularity and the event being held in Orlando, the fourth-largest city in his home state. There was a big drop-off in support after that, with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem being favored by four percent of participants and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley at three percent. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were tied at two percent.
Another potential Republican front-runner, former vice president Mike Pence, was apparently left out of the poll. Pence declined to speak at CPAC, leading to speculation that he was staying away because of a rift with his former boss. Trump posted a Twitter message saying Pence “didn’t have the courage” to protect the nation by blocking the official certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. The tweet went out even as rioters were breaching the Capitol and Pence had been evacuated from the Senate chamber.
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