Former President Donald Trump was greeted with a standing ovation at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday as he took the stage to deliver his first public speech since leaving the White House, declaring “our movement … is just getting started.”
“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” Trump told the enthusiastic crowd.
“Our movement of proud hardworking American patriots is just getting started,” he said. “And in the end we will win!”
While making clear that he intends to remain a force in the Republican party, Trump hinted at a possible 2024 run for president.
Referring to Democrats, he said: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” drawing deafening cheers from attendees.
Trump slammed rumors that he planned on starting a new political party as “fake news.”
“We have the Republican Party,” Trump said. “It is going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”
“We’re not starting new parties. You know, they kept saying, ‘he’s going to start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican Party, it is going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news. Fake news. No. 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.”
He also took a hit at his successor, claiming that President Biden has had the “most disastrous first month than any president in modern history.”
“We all knew the Biden administration was going to be bad, but no one knew how bad they would be,” Trump said.
“There’s no better example than the new and horrible crisis on our southern border,” he continued. “In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last.”
Trump argued that Biden’s immigration policy would cost Democrats the next two federal elections.
“We’re one country. We can’t afford the problems of the world,” he said. “As much as we’d love to — we’d love to help. We can’t do that. So they’re all coming because of promises and foolish words.”
The ex-president also called for reopening the nation’s schools, charging that Biden had “sold out America’s students to the teachers unions.”
“I call on Joe Biden to get the schools open and get them open now,” Trump said, to applause.
Trump is returning to the national spotlight to cap the four-day annual conference in Orlando as Republicans hope to regain majorities in the House and Senate in the midterm elections 2022 and win the White House in 2024.
Leading up to Trump’s eagerly-awaited remarks, a parade of possible Republican presidential hopefuls — including Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz — served as opening acts over the weekend to fire up the CPAC crowd for the one-time commander-in-chief.
Since leaving office on Jan. 20, Trump has been at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, meeting with former campaign officials and Republican lawmakers as he lays the groundwork for a political comeback for himself and the GOP.