Trump Addresses CPAC 2021 In Person

Donald Trump got on stage at CPAC today in Florida to address an enthusiastic crowd. And thousands more were tuning in via live feeds to see what he would say.

As this was the first big speech by Donald Trump since leaving office, there were a lot of questions about what he would say. Would he bring up voting laws and voting irregularities? Would he talk about the January 6th Capitol riot? Would he mention the second impeachment? Bottom line: would this speech unify and motivate the people listening into standing up to the Biden administration’s goals, or would this be a speech about the litany of wrongs done to Trump over the last four years?

Once President Trump was on the stage, he thanked his supporters, paid tribute to the late Rush Limbaugh, and then began talking about the future of the Republican party in the face of “cancel culture.” And Trump explicitly rejected a third party creation, recognizing that it would “split the vote.”

Trump immediately went into attack mode against the Biden administration, noting the failures that have already begun with the reversal of his policies. But in the middle of that, he did slip in this tease, while saying that Biden’s policies are so bad that the Democrats deserve to lose the White House in four years:


That is called “tossing red meat to the audience and poking the media watching directly in the eye.”

Showing an innate understanding of where the American people are focused right now, Trump called on Biden personally to open up schools.


And then he touted the success of Operation Warp Speed, and celebrated the authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine just yesterday. And President Trump told everyone to “go get your vaccine shot.” Kamala Harris hardest hit.

While President Trump spoke, he laid out what the future of the Republican party MUST be if we are ever going to present a contrast to the Democrats and win future elections.

The task for our movement and our party is to stand up to this destructive agenda with confidence and with resolve. The future of the Republican party is as a party that defends the social, economic, and cultural interests and values of working American families of every race, color, and creed.”

And then the speech took a sharp turn into voter irregularities and complaints about the Supreme Court.


Look, we all know voting reforms are needed, and voter ID is something that should happen. But that is something that is going to have to be addressed at the STATE level now by STATE legislatures, and Biden is sitting in the White House. Yes, politicians seized on the “public emergency” of COVID to override certain voting procedures. And yes, Trump feels that he has a legitimate complaint, especially given the entire “fortifying the election” Time Magazine story. The problem is that this message coming from Donald Trump sounds too much like sour grapes instead of a legitimate voting concern, and the more he harps on this, the less effective the rest of his message becomes. And he kept coming back to those numbers, and those vote totals. He’s not going to be able to let this go, and his inability to stop talking about it will hurt him if he wants to move forward in 2024. Remember, we continually mock Hillary Clinton for claiming repeatedly that she actually won in 2016. I don’t know how Donald Trump avoids that same level of mockery in the future if he keeps bringing this up.

Eventually, the media was rewarded with what they sat through the speech for: outright Republican bashing by name. And while he didn’t say outright that he’s running in 2024 (though he quite openly danced around that implication), he is definitely setting himself up as kingmaker in future elections. Trump is going to make each Republican candidate earn his endorsement, in hopes of setting himself up for 2024. It’s ambitious, but it is far too soon to think about 2024. We have got to address winning back the House – and hopefully the Senate – in 2022.

For those who have the time, the entire speech can be watched here:

While this speech was essentially the Republican response to a State of the Union address that Biden has not given, it’s not likely that Trump made any major headway with this speech. When he compared and contrasted his administration with what Biden is trying to do, that was good. When he talked about the social issues that people are rightly concerned about – schools, the Equality Act, border security – that resonates with people. But when he shifts gears into bashing other Republicans by name and rehashing the 2020 election, he loses ground. And as head of the party, he has got to be more focused on the present and the future, not the past, especially if Republicans want to take back the Congress in less than two years.

Featured image: President Donald Trump via Trump White House Archived Flickr (official White House photo by by Shealah Craighead), cropped, public domain

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Author: Deanna Fisher


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