Former President Donald Trump on Sunday told a gathering of conservative activists he will “continue to fight” alongside Republicans in the next four years in what he called a “historic struggle” for the nation’s future.
Trump also said he “may” run again in 2024, as he ruled out the formation of a third party.
“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,” he said at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “ … I’m going to continue to fight right by your side. We will do what we’ve done right from the beginning, which is to win. We’re not starting new parties. They kept saying, he’s going to start a brand new party. We have the Republican party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party.”
A CPAC straw poll at the Orlando, Fla., convention showed that 68 percent of attendees want him to run again. In a hypothetical straw primary poll, 54 percent of attendees said they’d vote for Trump and 21 percent said they’d favor Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). Four percent said they’d vote for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R).
“We’re in the middle of a historic struggle for America’s future, America’s culture, and America’s institutions, borders, and most cherished principles,” Trump said.
The former president criticized the Biden administration on multiple issues, including its support of allowing biological boys who identify as girls to play on girls’ teams. In Connecticut in recent years, two high school boys who identify as female won a total of 15 girls’ track state championships.
“Joe Biden and the Democrats are ... pushing policies that would destroy women’s sports,” Trump said. “... Young girls and women are … now being forced to compete against those who are biological males. It’s not good for women. It’s not good for women’s sports, which worked so long and so hard to get to where they are. The records that stood for years, even decades, are now being smashed with these – smashed. If this is not changed, women’s sports, as we know it, will die. … I think it’s crazy. I think it’s just crazy what’s happening. We must protect the integrity of women’s sports.”
On the subject of schools, Trump said the Biden administration is not doing enough to ensure that children are learning in-person.
“Millions of American children are having their futures destroyed by Joe Biden’s anti-science school closures,” Trump said. “… There’s no reason whatsoever why the vast majority of young Americans should not be back in school immediately. The only reason that most parents do not have that choice is because Joe Biden has sold out America’s children to the teacher’s unions. … They’re cheating the next generations of Americans out of the future that they deserve. And they do deserve this future. They’re going to grow up and they’re going to have a scar.”
Trump said the success of the vaccine distribution started in his administration. As of Monday, 75 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been given in the U.S.
“It takes 60 to 100 days to manufacture and inspect new doses. And that means that 100 percent of the increased availability that we have now was initiated by our administration,” Trump said. “… And as conservatives and Republicans, never forget that we did it. … By the time I left that magnificent house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, almost 20 million Americans had already been vaccinated. 1.5 million doses were administered on my final day alone. 1.5 million in a day. … This was us. We did this. And the distribution is moving along, according to our plan.”
He urged his supporters: “Everybody, go get your shot.”
The Democratic party, Trump said, “is based upon unvarnished disdain for America, its past and its people” while the Republican party is “based on love for America and the belief that this is an exceptional nation, blessed by God.”
“We teach the truth about history. We celebrate our rich heritage and national traditions. We honor George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and all national heroes, and of course, we respect our great American flag,” Trump said. “… We are committed to defending innocent life and to upholding the Judeo-Christian values of our founders and of our founding. We embrace free thought. We stand up to political correctives, and we reject left-wing lunacy, and in particular, we reject cancel culture.”
Looking to the future, Trump said he “may” run in 2024.
“With your help, we will take back the House. We will win the Senate. And then, a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House. And I wonder who that will be? I wonder who that will be?” he said, teasing the audience. “... Standing before you today, I am supremely confident that for our movement, for our party, and for our country, our brightest days are just ahead.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.