Former President Trump is speaking.
Less than six weeks after leaving office, former President Trump will deliver his closing address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday (Feb. 28), where he will reiterate his positions on the national stage and make clear his intention to continue his dominance within the Republican Party.
Trump will use his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference to shock his successor, Joe Biden, and seek to cement his position as the undisputed leader of the Republican Party, Trump aides said.
Trump’s earlier speech showed his confidence in advancing the conservative agenda, with the Associated Press predicting that he might say “I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over” and “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.”
The event, held so far at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, was a tribute to Trump and Trump supporters, with a figurehead statue in his image. And while speakers included many Republican Party speakers who may have hopes of governing in 2024, many members still believe the Republican Party must embrace the former president and his supporters, even after being attacked by the media and political circles surrounding the events in Congress. Members of Congress, including Romney, Cheney Jr. and others who supported the conviction of former President Trump, have been condemned by many of their party colleagues.
Indiana Congressman Jim Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee/RSC, said during a CPAC panel discussion on Saturday (Feb. 27), “The most unpopular people in our party are those who want to erase Trump and Trump’s supporters from our party Those people.” He added, “And let me tell you, if that happens, we will not be able to take back the majority in 2022. If we wipe out Trump, we’re definitely not going to take back the White House in 2024.”
Trump is expected to deliver a scathing condemnation of the first month of the new administration, including Biden’s immigration policies and his decision to halt construction of Trump’s southern border wall, and his handling of foreign policy, and with the U.S. economy still struggling as it needs to continue to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
It is highly unusual for past U.S. presidents to publicly criticize their successors so soon after leaving office. Former presidents usually leave the spotlight for at least some Time. That’s what happened with Obama and Bush, for example. But Trump probably won’t do it.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki canceled the expected criticism. She told reporters, “We’ll see what he (Trump) says now, but our focus is certainly not on what President Trump said at CPAC.”
In addition to criticizing Biden, Trump is expected to use the speech to discuss the future of the Republican Party and its “America First” movement, arguing that they must stick with him in order to energize the new voters he has brought into the party. He will likely say that the only divisions within the party are between the Washington elite and the conservative base, including the performance of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and third House Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Tenn.).
On Friday (Feb. 26), Trump had already begun his political campaign by endorsing former aide Max Miller for the House, while he intends to challenge Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (D), who voted for Trump’s impeachment.
Although Trump no longer has social media accounts after being banned from Twitter and Facebook, Trump has begun to return to public Life. After the death of prominent conservative media personality Rush Limbaugh, Trump has appeared in the conservative news media again and publicly wished famous professional golfer Tiger Woods all the best after he was injured in a car accident.
Trump also made statements, including a blast at Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell after he condemned Trump for inciting violence. McConnell has since said he would “absolutely” support Trump if he were the Republican nominee in 2024.
Trump has been meeting quietly with aides and senior party leaders at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, as he builds a post-presidential political operation. And he has approved several pro-Trump candidates, and his aides have spent the past week setting benchmarks for those seeking his endorsement to make sure those candidates are serious and flesh out their own political maturity and fundraising organizations before he steps in.
They also plan to create a new super PAC that could raise unlimited amounts of money, although an aide said they are still deciding whether to create a new entity or repurpose the existing America First Super PAC.
Trump is not expected to announce Sunday that he will run again in 2024, but allies have made it clear he will continue to push the envelope.
“You’re going to see a speech on Sunday that not only discusses the beginning, but will discuss the future,” Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark-Meadows told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity earlier in the week. “What we’re going to see on Sunday is we’re going to see the beginning of the next administration’s plans. I can tell you that all of the people at the top of the list have the last name Trump (referring to support for the Trump agenda).”
“I don’t think this is what we would call a ‘low-energy’ speech,” Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. said in Friday’s CPAC speech, “and I assure you it will solidify Donald Trump and all your feelings about the ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) movement as the future of the Republican Party.”