Donald Trump assured in his grand comeback at CPAC on Sunday that he will not form a new political party because it would further divide the GOP– and the former president previewed another White House run in 2024.
‘Do you miss me yet?’ Trump asked the roaring crowd as he took the stage more than one hour later than scheduled.
He assured those gathered for the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida on Sunday: ‘We’re not starting new parties. We have the Republican Party.’
‘Wouldn’t that be brilliant?’ he sarcastically quipped. ‘Let’s start a new party, let’s divide our vote, so you can never win. No we’re not interested in that.’
Trump’s re-commitment to the GOP comes after rumors emerged last month that he was considering creating his own political party and breaking with Republicans – especially those who rebuked him.
The former president used his time on stage to push his repeated claims of voter fraud.
‘Actually as you know, they just lost the White House, but it’s one of those things,’ he said of Democrats, insinuating his claim that Joe Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 presidential election.
‘But who knows, who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time,’ he said, previewing a potential 2024 run to take back the White House.
Despite calling for unity within the party, Trump specifically called out Republican lawmakers who have rebuked him – including listing the names of those who voted for his impeachment.
‘We need strong leadership, we cannot have leaders who show more passion for condemning their fellow Americans than they have ever shown for standing up to Democrats, the media and the radicals, who want to turn America into a socialist country,’ Trump said.
‘We want Republican leaders who are loyal to the voters who will work proudly for the vision that I laid out today,’ he said.
Trump specifically called out Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, the highest ranking Republican in the House to vote in favor of impeaching the then-president.
Cheney has faced a formal censure from the GOP in her home state of Wyoming, which is fiercely pro-Trump.
Former President Donald Trump assured the crowd at CPAC on Sunday that he will not form his own political party as he appeared for his first public remarks since leaving office on January 20
‘Do you miss me yet?’ Trump asked as teased that he would be launching a bid for the White House in 2024
‘We’re not starting new parties. We have the Republican Party,’Trump promised amid rumors he was considering creating a party to rival the GOP
Trump arrived late at his speech in Orlando, Florida, keeping the pro-Trump crowd waiting for 69 extra minutes
Much of Trump’s crowd was not wearing masks and no social distancing was being observed
‘The RINOs we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican Party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself,’ Trump said, using the negative term ‘Republican in Name Only,’ which refers to more moderate, establishment GOP lawmakers.
‘And that’s why I’m announcing that I will be actively working to elect strong, tough and smart Republican leaders,’ he added.
Trump was longed rumored to be preparing to launch a slew of endorsements for GOP candidates – especially some who are launching primary runs against incumbent Republicans who have denounced the former president.
‘It has just been stated that President Trump’s endorsement is the most powerful asset in politics,’ Trump touted.
‘My endorsement of Mitch McConnll, at his request,’ Trump began and was met with boos from the crowd upon mention of the Senate leader, ‘brought him from one point down to 20 points up and he won his race.’
‘Because of my efforts campaigning, we had huge gains in the House and I helped keep many senators in their seats and they will admit it, so that it’s now 50/50 instead of Republicans being down anywhere from eight to 10 seats.’
‘So how the hell is it possible that we lost?’ he questioned.
Trump said to an enthusiastic crowd of mixed mask and mask-less supporters on Sunday: ‘I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began 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.’
‘We began it together four years ago – and it is far from being over,’ he added.
During his keynote address, Trump sent the message: I am the future of the GOP. He said that he wouldn’t let the radical left cancel him.
‘For the next four years 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. Something new to our ears, cancel culture,’ he joked.
‘And I want you to know that I’m going to continue to fight right by your side, we will do what we’ve done right from the beginning, which is win,’ he said.
‘We embrace free thought , we stand up to political correctness and we reject left-wing lunacy and in particular – we reject cancel culture,’ Trump said.
At another point, Trump promised: ‘The Republican Party is united,’ despite recent fractions and feuds.
‘The only division is between a handful of Washington D.C. establishment political hacks, and everybody else all over the country,’ he added.
As the crowd waited for Trump, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp assured them ‘everything is going according to schedule’ as he arrived 69 minutes late to the party.
An infomercial about CPAC then played to keep supporters engaged, as Trump made his way to Orlando from Palm Beach.
In an effort to not further faction those on the right side of the political aisle, Trump made clear during his remarks that he will not be starting his own political party. Instead, he called for Republicans to unite in order to win back a majority in Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024.
‘We are not starting new parties, and we will not be dividing our power and our strength. Instead, we will be united and strong like never before,’ Trump will say, according to an excerpt of the speech obtained by Fox News.
However, the former president did not fully abandon his bull-ish attitude, making it clear Republican defectors would face primary runs against Trump-backed candidates.
He also took the opportunity on Sunday to pounce on President Joe Biden.
Trump took the stage to the song ‘God Bless The U.S.A.’, which was the warm up song he used during his rallies
The former president used Biden’s names almost from the start of his speech, coming out in strong force against the man who bested him for the White House and most of his policies since taking office
‘Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history,’ Trump said of his successor.
‘Your families still cannot go out and eat at local restaurants, but Joe Biden is bringing in thousands upon thousands of refugees from all over the world, people that nobody knows anything about. We don’t have crime records, we don’t have health records,’ Trump said, dueling attacking Biden’s coronavirus response and lax immigration policies.
‘Joe Biden and the Democrats are even pushing policies that would destroy women’s sports,’ he said, likely referencing the Equality Act that seeks to further transgender rights.
Biden is in Wilmington, Delaware this weekend and attended church Sunday morning with his grandkids Natalie and Hunter, before the White House called a ‘lid,’ meaning he’s home for the day and won’t be providing counter-programming to Trump’s Sunday afternoon CPAC speech.
Throughout the four-day event, the Hyatt Regency in Orlando – where the convention was held this year – had issues with attendees refusing to comply with wearing masks.
At one point, the ACU had to warn ticket-holders that repeat offenders could be asked to leave the premises.
During Trump’s speech, which was not observing social distancing standards, several audience members could be seen wearing their face coverings below their noses, on their chins or just not wearing one at all.
Trump lamented of Biden’s handling of coronavirus during his remarks, demanding Republicans not allow him to take credit for the vaccine and recovery plan.
‘Never let them take the credit, because they don’t deserve the credit,’ Trump said., adidn : ‘Joe Biden is only implementing the plan that we had in place.’
Biden’s White House has said there was no plan in place when they inherited the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to the claims of top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, who has now served on the coronavirus advisory boards of both Trump and Biden’s administrations.
Trump’s speech is expected to last 90 minutes, minimum. His 2019 CPAC is his longest on record, reaching past the two-hour mark.
‘Buckle up for Sunday, President Trump is back and better than ever,’ teased longtime Trump aide Jason Miller on Friday, during a Fox Business Network appearance.
Top Trump aide Corey Lewandowski told Fox News on Sunday that it was always ‘fake news’ that the former president was ever considering creating his own party apart from Republicans.
‘Why would you start a third party when you’re the head of the Republican Party?’ Lewandowski posed. ‘There’s no question about it: Donald Trump is the head of the Republican Party.’
‘This notion that he’s going to start a third party, it’s total fake news, okay?’ he continued. ‘He’s never wanted to do that.’
President Joe Biden (left) and his grandson Hunter (right) leave church Sunday morning in Wilmington, Delaware. The White House called a ‘lid’ so Biden won’t be providing any sort of counter-programming as Trump verbally punches him during CPAC Sunday afternoon
President Joe Biden (right) holds an umbrella to walk his grandkids Natalie (left) and Hunter (center) out of church Sunday morning in Wilmington, Delaware
Top Trump aide Corey Lewandowski told Fox News on Sunday that it was always ‘fake news’ that the former president was ever considering creating his own party
Trump supporter Marcia English stands outside the Hyatt Recency in Orlando, where CPAC is being held, to show her support for former President Donald Trump who will speak at the conference later Sunday
Participants at this year’s CPAC mill around radio row at the conference, which is being held in Orlando, Florida instead of outside of Washington, D.C. this year
‘He has been the head of the Republican Party. He’s the most important endorsement for any Republican running for office in a primary or a general election, and that’s going to continue to be the case.’
Although several potential 2024 Republican presidential contenders made appearances at CPAC, most of them made it clear they support Trump and would put support behind him.
Those potential contenders who spoke at CPAC include Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Rick Scott of Florida, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
‘Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,’ Cruz said while speaking at the massive gathering.
Lewandowski said Sunday that Trump’s ‘first mission’ is to win back Congress in 2022 – a fact he will outline in his speech Sunday afternoon.
‘He’s going to lay out how we’re going to take back the House and the Senate in 2022, because that’s the first mission,’ he told Fox.
In calling for the Party to come together, Trump will also detail a ‘pathway’ for taking back the majority in Congress in 2022, including pushing his repeated claims of voter fraud and proposing ways to stop it.
Stripped of his Twitter account, Trump’s only means of communication with the public have been through occasional statements released from the ‘Office of the 45th President’, which he formed after leaving Washington.
He also broke his media silence earlier this month when he joined Fox News by phone for a tribute to conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who died of cancer.
A Trump supporter wears a giant Melania Trump head as they gather outside the Hyatt Recency in Orlando, Florida where the ex-president is due to speak in front of the CPAC crowd
Trump even has the support of dogs, as two pooches from Iowa are photographed with a Trump 2024 plate outside of CPAC in Orlando on Sunday
Guy Harper, of Virginia, sells Trump and anti-socialiasm swag ahead of former President Donald Trump’s arrival at CPAC 2021 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando
A car decked out in pro-Trump car decals drives around where CPAC is being held in Orlando, Florida
CPAC is being held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida this year, instead of its usual spot at a hotel outside of Washinton, D.C.
One Republican Trump plans to go after is Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (right), who during an awkward moment at a press conference on Wednesday alongside Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said of Trump: ‘I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country’
Despite his message of bringing the party back together amidst a slew of Republicans breaking with the former president, Trump is also reportedly considering lashing out at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his speech.
Trump could express anger over other GOP defections in his second impeachment.
The former president is still stewing over McCarthy’s decision to keep Representative Liz Cheney in two House GOP roles after she voted to impeach, three sources told Politico.
Last month, McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago in a bid to patch things up after saying that Trump ‘bears responsibility’ for the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The California Republican’s effort to appease Trump continued this week, when McCarthy took a swipe at Cheney during an appearance on Fox News, suggesting that she supports cancel culture.
The two Republican representatives got into an awkward shuffle at a press conference Wednesday, when a reporter asked Cheney if Trump should be speaking at CPAC.
‘I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country,’ she replied, as McCarthy stood by.
‘On that high note, thank you all very much,’ McCarthy added, swiftly concluding the press conference.
Last month, McCarthy (right) flew to Mar-a-Lago in a bid to patch things up with Trump after saying that the former president ‘bears responsibility’ for the January 6 riot
McCarthy used a CPAC panel on Saturday to lavish praise on Trump, crediting the former president for securing GOP gains in the House in the 2020 elections
At a CPAC panel on Saturday, McCarthy overflowed with praise for Trump, crediting the former president for significant GOP gains in the House in November elections.
‘You know why we won that? President Trump worked on all these races,’ McCarthy said. ‘Even when President Trump was sick with COVID, he called me one night from the hospital and said ‘Kevin we’ve got to keep doing this.”
‘He couldn’t do the rallies, so he would do these rallies over the phone for each district, and he would have the candidate on and he would talk, and it turned out the votes.’
The minority leader’s top priority is returning a GOP majority to the House in the midterm elections, which would seize the gavel from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Lewandowski also put support behind McCarthy on Sunday, claiming he should be the leader of the House, not Pelosi.
‘We believe that Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy have a better opportunity to lead our country than Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi respectively,’ Lewandowksi told Fox of the whole Republican Party as the last day of CPAC commenced. ‘Now, we may have a different way to get there. We may have different candidates.’
‘We want the Republicans to be in the majority, and the president is going to have a big say in how that happens for 2022,’ he said. ‘Yeah we may not agree on all the candidates, we are going to go after some candidates that made some bad votes – Liz Cheney is on that list, Alex Gonzalez is on that list.’