Donald Trump delivered his first public address since leaving the White House at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday in Orlando, Florida. Trump was silent over the past few weeks to let tensions simmer down over the January 6th Capitol insurrection and subsequent impeachment trial. But now, the former president feels emboldened and seeks to recapture total control over the Republican Party. Trump began his speech in typical over-the-top fashion, by claiming he had one of the most successful presidencies in history (despite only getting one term and losing both houses of Congress for Republicans). Trump announced that he will not be starting a new party and dismissed the idea that he’d form a “Patriot Party” as “fake news.” Instead, Trump said he wants to primary all of the Republicans who dared to speak out against him and/or moved to impeach him.
Trump rehashed the “big lie” about the 2020 election supposedly being rigged in favor of Joe Biden. He threatened to run for president again to beat the Democrats for a “third time,” to which the delusional crowd at CPAC erupted in applause. Trump went after the latest wedge issues that Republican voters consider highly important, like cancel culture and trans women competing in women’s sports. Ultimately, Trump stopped short of announcing a run for office again in 2024, but a third presidential campaign was heavily implied. Trump also divisively won the straw poll at CPAC on who should be the 2024 nominee. The former president won with 55% of the vote and was followed up in the poll by pro-Trump lackeys like Ron DeSantis, Kristi Noem, and Donald Trump, Jr.
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