October 5, 2022

Dallas – Former President Donald Trump returned to the CPAC stage on Saturday, pushing his baseless campaign claims, bashing his enemies and hinting at a possible 2024 run, saying, “We might have to do it again.”

“If I stayed home, the prosecution of Donald Trump would stop immediately, but I can’t because I love my country and I love the people,” she said.

Later in the nearly two-hour speech, he said, “America’s comeback begins this November and will continue with the unstoppable momentum we are going to build in November 2024.”

Trump did not announce another run for the White House in 2024, but he still won the CPAC poll comfortably, as in previous years. In a poll with Trump removed from the list, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the clear favorite with 64 percent and Sen. Ted Cruz a distant second with 6 percent. All others had less than 5%.

Former President Trump and his fellow Conservatives speak at CPAC's annual meeting
Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the CPAC Conservative Political Action Conference held at the Hilton Anatole on August 6, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.


Trump pointed to the straw poll results often on stage, especially his acceptance among conservative convention attendees.

Trump spent a significant portion of his speech trashing moderate Democrats Sens. Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema, who are both signatories to the climate deal the Senate was voting on while Trump was on stage. Vice President Kamala Harris surrendered the tie to advance legislation as Trump spoke. The bill received the support of all 50 Democrats and no Republicans. The Senate began the debate after its vote, which will last up to 20 hours before the Senate begins voting on the amendments.

Trump has promised to go to West Virginia, a state he won by nearly 20 points, and campaign against Manchin when he is re-elected in 2024, as well as campaign against Cinema when he is re-elected that same year in Arizona.

Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr, who resigned amid Trump’s false allegations after the 2020 election, he warned earlier this week to CBS News’ Kathryn Herridge that if Trump were to win in 2024, he would be a “78-year-old lame duck who is apparently bent on revenge more than anything.”

When Trump mentioned Barr, there were boos from the crowd. He also blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for allowing the deal to come to the Senate floor. Trump last month called McConnell, who refuses to defend Trump’s actions surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, “infidel.” On Saturday, Trump said his senators are loyal only because of his fundraising.

Trump made some references to the January 6 House committee – which has held public hearings to present their findings about the attack on the US Capitol – calling them “disgusting”.

During an earlier speech by GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, there were cries in the crowd to “free the J6 defendants.” Trump cited those charged in the attack, saying, “Look at these people whose lives are being destroyed.”

He also mocked the testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, which he said he heard Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential vehicle.

“So I got my arms around another powerful man, powerful as hell … I know these people well, it’s just not my deal,” Trump said.

He added jokingly: “When that story came out, people were like, ‘I never knew you were so physically strong.’

Trump repeated the claim that he wanted to call out the National Guard before the Jan. 6 attack, saying former Defense Department official Kash Patel witnessed it. The The January 6 committee shared footage challenging Trump’s claim of 10,000 troops being ready.

“Not from my perspective, I was never given any direction or order or aware of any such plans,” Trump’s acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, said in a taped deposition that the committee he tweeted last month.

The biggest applause of the night, however, came when Trump discussed culture war issues like parental rights and said he would “abolish the Department of Education” and “keep men out of women’s sports.” He also said he would not allow critical race theory to be taught.

But Trump hasn’t focused much on some of the GOP’s biggest culture war issues over the years, making only passing reference to the Second Amendment. He made no mention of the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, though it featured prominently throughout the conference.

Trump stuck to many of the themes of his previous speeches, hitting out at crime, inflation and the US as a “nation in decline”.

Trump began his speech by announcing many of his allies who are running for office, or already in office, who attended the conference. That included Carrie Lake, who presented him Saturday from her victory this week in the Republican primary for governor in Arizona.

Trump gave the closing remarks on the final day of the three-day conference, which was also attended by Hungary’s far-right leader Viktor Orbanwho said he does not want Hungarians to “become a people of mixed race”.

Saturday was the second speech in as many days for the former president, who visited Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Friday night, where he took a victory lap after several victories by his endorsed candidates in Tuesday’s primary.

“This has been a great week for the America First movement, great,” Trump said Friday.

Trump had targeted Arizona — one of the states swinging for President Biden in 2020 — in Tuesday’s primary in an effort to settle his loyalists. His supporters in Arizona won the Republican primaries for Senate, governor and secretary of state, the state’s top election official.

Trump had too endorsed David Farnswortha candidate in Arizona’s 10th state Senate district running against Rusty Bowers, who had testified about efforts by Trump and his allies to install bogus voters who supported Trump after the 2020 election. Farnsworth also won these elections.

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