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Trump applauded state exams and scoffed at the notion that all of this was subversive and problematic for society. “I’m not the one trying to undermine democracy,” Trump said as the crowd stood up. “I’m the one trying to save her.”
The speech wasn’t just about questioning the legitimacy of the election. In fact, that part got in for almost an hour. Previously, Trump bragged about his administration’s role in developing the coronavirus vaccine and attacked the Biden administration’s foreign, energy and immigration policies.
“If we hadn’t developed a vaccine, you’d have the 1917 Spanish flu numbers,” Trump said of the virus’s death toll and Operation Warp Speed.
The former president attacked the infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become a boogeyman for Trump and the Right, as “not a great doctor, but one hell of a promoter”.
“Fauci said at the beginning, ‘no masks’. Remember it? Then he became a radical masker. Get three, four. Ideally, get safety glasses. Wear them for another five or six years, “said Trump with laughter from the audience.
He was greeted with a standing ovation when he called on China to pay $ 10 trillion in “reparations” for its role in the coronavirus pandemic and again when he called for a ban on critical racial theory in schools, the culture war edition for the GOP.
He recounted his best moments in office, re-launched his long-standing grievances and was unwilling to let go of the insults that he believed had affected his tenure in Speech at West Point. Sometimes it gave off the atmosphere of a career twilight entertainer playing the hits for a Vegas audience. And last but not least, the evening offered a relatively new addition to the Trump rally playlist: “My Heart Will Go On”, the theme song from “Titanic” and the classic from the Vegas classic Celine Dion.
The audience loved it.
Trump, who narrowly won North Carolina in the last two presidential elections, was optimistic about the Republican Party in 2022 and beyond.
In a surprise announcement, he gave his “full and complete” endorsement to Rep. Ted Budd in the state’s Senate area code. The news, which Trump shared with Budd just 15 minutes before taking the stage, was made after Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, a native of Wilmington, NC, publicly ruled out running for the seat.
“By now you may have heard a rumor that I am considering possibly running for the Senate,” said Trump, who said she was instead focusing on her role as a mother. “I say no for now, not forever.”
The speech served as a prelude to the will-he-or-not speculation about whether Trump will try an election campaign in the White House again. He has privately told his confidants that he is inclined to do so and recently made a statement assuming that he would not only run again, but win. Saturday was Trump’s first public speech since appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February. Since then, the ex-president has spoken out behind closed doors at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, and conducted interviews on friendly, right-wing shows.
“He just can’t stop and get away with it,” said a former campaign advisor. “He probably sees this as one thing that defines legacy and I know it’s superficial, but he doesn’t want to go out as a loser.”
Trump plans to cross the country this summer and make a series of speeches. So far he is expected to appear in Ohio to support former White House advisor who has become Congressional candidate Max Miller; in Alabama to support Republican Senate nominee Rep. Mo Brooks; in Georgia, where he remains bitter about the outcome of the 2020 elections; and his home state of Florida. In July of this year he will also speak at CPAC Texas in Dallas.
“It’s really about coming back out there to bring a positive message forward for America and comparing the America First agenda with Biden’s short-term results,” said a senior Trump adviser. “Florida and Ohio are on the list to get off and hold rallies quickly, but it’s not going to stop just yet – he’s ready to get involved in the political arena again.”
A jumbotron appearance at a “free speech” event next week hosted by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has openly speculated that Trump will be reinstated in the White House in August, is also likely, a spokesman said. Trump himself was preoccupied with the Arizona exam that he has considered will lead to his reinstatement. However, a senior adviser said the former president does not seriously believe he will return to the White House any other way.
While Trump’s allies publicly backed his return on the road, there was behind-the-scenes arguments over how Trump’s obsession with re-litigating the 2020 elections could affect the mid-term elections.
A person close to Trump noted that some top Republican donors who had listened to Trump were disappointed with the former president’s messages.
“They came to hear something else and to talk about the future and not the past,” the person said of a recent event in Mar-a-Lago. “You haven’t heard anything new from Trump, more complaints and nothing new.”