In a speech closing out the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday, former President Donald Trump teased a 2024 presidential run while targeting President Biden on his immigration policies and called on him to “get the schools open and get them open now.”
“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we begun together we went through a journey like nobody else. There’s never been a journey like it, there’s never been a journey so successful,” Trump began his first speech since leaving the White House last month. “We began it together four years ago and it is far from being over. And you know what this is? The hardest working people, hard-working American patriots, it’s just getting started and in the end, we will win. We’ve been doing a lot of winning.”
“We are gathered this afternoon to talk about the future of our movement, the future of our party, and the future of our beloved country,” Trump added, promising in the “the next four years” he will “continue to fight” alongside the “brave Republicans in this room will be at the heart of the effort to oppose the radical Democrats, the fake news media and their toxic cancel culture.”
The former president broke from the unspoken political tradition of refraining from attacking his successor, ripping into Biden and his first 39 days as president by labeling him and his administration the “anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science.”
“We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us even imagined just how bad they would be and how far left they would go,” Trump said.
On the coronavirus pandemic, Trump took aim at Biden attempting to take credit for the vaccine distribution and recent statements of falsely claiming the previous administration left no vaccine supplies when he entered office.
“Biden said just a few days ago that when he got here, meaning The White House, there was no vaccine. He said, ‘there’s no vaccine.’ Oh, good. Say it again, Joe,” Trump said. “Now I don’t think he said that, frankly, in a malicious way. I really don’t. I actually believe he said that because he didn’t really know what the hell was happening.”
“Never let them forget. This was us. We did this. And the distribution is moving along, according to our plan,” Trump added. “But remember, we took care of a lot of people, including, I guess on December 21st, we took care of Joe Biden. Cause he got his shot. He got his vaccine. He forgot.”
The former president also dismissed the rumors that he was contemplating forming a third political party.
“We will do what we’ve done right from the beginning, which is to win,” Trump said. “We’re not starting new parties. They kept saying, ‘He’s going to start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican party it’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote so that you can never win. No, we’re not interested in that.”
Trump publicly targeted those within the GOP Party who have lately criticized him, naming all the 10 House RINO Republicans who voted for the impeachment articles in January and the 7 Senators who joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict him earlier this month. He specifically took aim at Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the No. 3 Republican in the House who earlier this week said that Trump should not be in a position to lead the party.
“The Democrats don’t have grand-standers like Mitt Romney, little Ben Sasse… And of course the warmonger, the person who loves seeing our troops fighting, Liz Cheney,” Trump said. “The good news is in her state, she’s been censured. And in her state, her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being I’ve ever seen. So hopefully, they’ll get rid of her with the next election. Get rid of them all.”
“Remember this. It’s true. Democrats are vicious. They’re smart. And they do one thing. You’ve got to hand it to them. They always stick together,” he added. “But the Republicans do not stick together. The RINOs that we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican Party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself. The RINOs, Republican in name only. But the Republican Party is united. The only division is between a handful of Washington, DC, establishment, political hacks, and everybody else all over the country. I think we have tremendous unity. And that’s why I’m announcing that I will be actively working to elect strong, tough, and smart Republican leaders.”
At the CPAC annual straw poll released ahead of the former president taking the stage, Trump won 55% of CPAC attendees when asked who they favored as 2024 GOP presidential candidates. If Trump decides not to run in 2024, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the clear front-runner among conservative attendees, garnering 43 percent of the support.