Former President Donald Trump is officially back and in full effect, judging by his overwhelming reception at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Besides delivering a scorching speech in which he promised to be the GOP base’s “retribution,” the former president also easily won a straw poll, beating out everybody, including even Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Trump won 62% support in the poll. … Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in as second choice with 20% support. The third-place pick at 5% support was long-shot GOP candidate Perry Johnson,” Fox News confirmed.
To be fair, keep in mind that Trump lost the 2016 CPAC straw poll, coming in at only 15 percent to Sen. Ted Cruz’s 40 percent. Yet despite losing the poll, Trump obviously wound up winning the nomination and eventually the presidency.
The point is that anything is still possible.
People using the CPAC straw poll as a barometer forget that in 2016 Cruz came in first with 40%, Rubio second at 30%, and Trump third at 15%.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) March 5, 2023
Following the poll, the former president delivered a speech in which he, surprisingly, abstained from attacking his top rivals such as DeSantis and Nikki Haley.
Instead Trump aimed his fire at the Democrat Party.
“If you put me back in the White House, their reign is over. Their reign will be over. And they know it. And America will be a free nation once again. We’re not a free nation right now. We don’t have a free press. We don’t have free anything,” he said.
“In 2016, I declared I am your voice. Today I add I am your warrior, I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution,” he added.
President Trump: “In 2016, I declared, ‘I am your voice.’ Today I add: I am your warrior, I am your justice, and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution!” pic.twitter.com/E3Cy6S4qFg
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 4, 2023
“For seven years, you and I have been engaged in an epic struggle to rescue our country from the people who hate it and want to absolutely destroy it. The sinister forces trying to kill America have done everything they can to stop me, to silence you, and to turn this nation into a socialist dumping ground for criminals, junkies, Marxist thugs and radicals, and dangerous refugees that no other country wants,” Trump continued.
“If those opposing us succeed, our once beautiful USA will be a failed country that no one will even recognize. A lawless, open borders, crime-ridden, filthy, communist nightmare,” he added.
Though focused on the left, the former president did take a moment to attack the GOP establishment as well.
“We had a Republican Party that was ruled by freaks, neo-cons, globalists, open-border zealots and fools, we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush,” he said.
At one point, Trump was briefly heckled:
BREAKING: Heckler dragged out of @CPAC during Trump’s speech as massive crowd chants “USA” pic.twitter.com/d6LxgF5JVi
— Danny De Urbina (@dannydeurbina) March 4, 2023
A heckler interrupted Trump’s CPAC speech blasting the song “Fuck Donald Trump” from speakers so loud it was audible on the former President’s microphone.
Police have escorted him off the premises. pic.twitter.com/GeD5usAPrk
— Jordan Clifford (@JCliff_Scoops) March 4, 2023
Later in the speech, the former president took a direct shot at current President Joe Biden.
“When we’re dealing with the Biden administration, it seems that every single day is April Fool’s day, every day. They want an open border so that anybody can come in, and everybody else wants it to be closed. It’s simple for us. We want an open border, that’s April Fool’s,” he said.
“We want voter ID. They don’t want voter ID. Who wouldn’t want voter ID? It’s April Fool’s. They want to take the soldiers out of Afghanistan before we take our people and equipment out, but we want the soldiers to come out last. So then they float into a catastrophe the most embarrassing event in the history of our country. It’s April Fool’s Day,” he added.
He eventually concluded his speech by framing his reelection campaign as a chance for him to return to the White House and “finish what we started.”
“We’re a nation in decline. Our enemies are desperate to stop us because they know that we are the only ones who can stop them. They know that,” he said.
“They know that we can defeat them, they know that we will defeat them, but they’re not coming after me — they’re coming after you. And I’m just standing in their way. And that’s why I’m here today. That’s why I’m standing before you — because we are going to finish what we started,” he added.
“They know that we can defeat them.
They know that we will defeat them.
But they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you. And I’m just standing in their way. pic.twitter.com/2zGkokajh4
— CPAC (@CPAC) March 4, 2023
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