By Ethan Resnik
In former President Donald Trump’s first speech since departing from office at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 28, he declared that he will be considering running for president in 2024.
Trump spoke on how he plans to control the GOP through the 2022 election and set himself up for a third run at the White House, according to the Washington Post.
Another recurring topic within Trump’s speech was Biden’s supposedly fraudulent victory of the presidency. Even though these claims have no legitimate evidence, Trump claimed at the conference “I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”
Trump spoke about how the U.S. has a “very sick and corrupt electoral process,” and accused the supreme court of “not having the courage to overturn the election.” He also made other statements insisting that mail-in ballots and early voting practices were responsible for Biden’s victory. He ultimately called for new voting restrictions to be implemented and for people to support his political action committee, according to CNN.
Trump attacked Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), whom he referred to as a “warmonger.” Biden was also thoroughly targeted by Trump throughout the speech. Trump claimed that Biden’s new immigration policy is creating a migrant youth crisis, according to CNN. Trump touted his own efforts as president to expand the border wall and said Biden was reversing his administration’s accomplishments.
Trump has made a plan to start a Super Pac, a political action committee. This will serve to raise funds from corporations and individuals while also exploring the possibility of drafting a bullet-pointed “America First” agenda. Republicans can sign on to this agenda to show their loyalty to Trump’s leadership.
Trump is also finalizing a plan to endorse certain Republican candidates while also punishing candidates who criticized him. On Friday, he formally backed former White House aide Max Miller as a primary opponent to Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), who was 1 of 10 Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment. A Trump adviser also has stated that he is preparing to endorse former Ohio Party Chair and Trump loyalist Jane Timken to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman in that state.
After Trump’s speech, a strawpoll was taken of the attendees at the event. The results show that Republicans are still supportive of his policies, yet his personal support is dropping. Just over half of respondents, approximately 55%, named Trump their preferred candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in the CPAC strawpoll. 68% said they wanted him to run again — a strong majority according to Vox.com.
In contrast to this statistic, 95% said they support the GOP advancing Trump’s agenda and policies. This suggests that people may be more interested in the direction Trump took the party than Trump himself.
Karl Rove, a Republican political operative and former adviser to George W. Bush said on Fox News that the relatively low polling numbers at CPAC should concern Trump.
“This is the truest Trump believers,” Rove said. “And for him to only get 55 percent says he is losing strength because he’s not introducing something new. He’s losing strength whether he recognizes it,” according to Vox.com.