ORLANDO, Fl. — Former President Donald Trump made his return to the political spotlight on Sunday at the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, teasing a possible run in 2024.
Showing up over an hour late, Trump returned to the political stage in front of a mostly masked crowd with little social distancing. He began by asking the crowd: “Do you miss me?” He went on to announce he is “not starting a new party” while continuing his lie that he won the election.
“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” Trump said. “We are gathered this afternoon to talk about the future — the future of our movement, the future of our party, and the future of our beloved country.”
“Actually, as you know they just lost the White House,” he continued while hinting of a possible run in 2024. “Who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”
In the hours before Trump’s speech, he won CPAC’s meaningless presidential straw poll with the support of 55 percent CPAC attendees who said they would support Trump if he launched a presidential bid in 2024. 95 percent said they wanted the Republican Party to advance with Trump as their leader, but just 68 percent said they wanted to see Trump himself run again.
Without Trump on the ballot, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won the vote with 21 percent.
Speaking about his “incredible journey”, Trump said “it is far from over” and said his supporter is even stronger than it was four years ago. “We will be victorious and America will be stronger and greater than ever before.”
Trump repeated his lies about losing the November election, which President Joe Biden won outright with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. He targeted Biden, speaking out against everything from his immigration policies to getting children back to school.
With no evidence to back up his claims, he said Biden’s policy changes are triggering a new crisis at the Southern border.
“Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history. Already the Biden administration has proven that they are anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science. In just one short month, we have gone from America First to America Last,” Trump said.
There’s no better example than the new and horrible crisis on our southern border, we did such a good job. Now he wants it all to go to hell. When I left office just six weeks ago, we had created the most secure border in U.S. history,” he continued. “The wall’s been amazing, it’s incredible and they don’t want to complete it.”
The former President also name checked all Republicans who voted to impeach him, including Mitt Romney, Bill Cassidy, and Rep. Liz Cheney, who has been vocal that the party should move away from his leadership going forward.
Trump’s remarks lasted 90 minutes and is seen by many within the Republican Party as his “big return” to the political spotlight. The party is seemingly split between wanting to keep the former President as the leader of the party and veering away from him.