Trump at CPAC: 'Do You Miss Me Yet?'

Event strawpoll finds 68% of attendees want him to run in 2024
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2021 4:56 PM CST
Trump at CPAC: 'We're Not Starting New Parties'
Trump supporters wave flags and signs to motorists driving by the convention center at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Taking the stage for the first time since leaving office, former President Trump on Sunday called for Republican Party unity in a speech at a conservative political conference, even as he exacerbated its divisions and made clear he intended to remain a dominant force in the party. Trump used his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he has been hailed as a returning hero, to blast his successor, President Joe Biden, and try to cement his status as the party’s undisputed leader despite his loss in November, the AP reports. “Do you miss me yet?” Trump said after taking the stage, where his old rally soundtrack had been playing. “I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we begun together ... is far from being over." Though Trump has flirted with the idea of creating a third party, he pledged to remain part of what he called “our beloved party,” saying, “I'm going to continue to fight right by your side. We're not starting new parties. We have the Republican Party. It's going to be strong and united like never before.”

The conference, held this year in Orlando instead of the Washington suburbs because of COVID-19 restrictions, has been a tribute to Trump and Trumpism, complete with a golden statue in his likeness. Speakers, including many potential 2024 hopefuls, have argued the party must embrace the former president and his followers, even after the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6. And they have repeated his unfounded claims that he lost his bid for reelection only because the election was “rigged.” The conference's annual unscientific straw poll of just over 1,000 attendees found that 97% approve of the job Trump did as president. But they were much more ambiguous about whether he should run again, with 68% saying he should. Speaking of the current US president, who defeated him in November, Trump said: “Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history.”

(More Donald Trump stories.)

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