After leaving the White House, Donald Trump will give his first speech in Florida on Sunday. The former US president is likely to attack the critics in his party – with a view to the 2024 election.
Donald Trump has waited more than five weeks – now the former US president will step onto a political stage again. He had others pick up the mess he left for the country through his irresponsible departure from office and the storming of his supporters on the Capitol.
Now his first speech since the end of his term at the Conference of Conservative Activists and Parliamentarians (CPAC) in Orlando this Sunday (9:30 p.m. CET) will be a show of force. An attack on its internal party critics among the Republicans is expected. Trump wants to consolidate his position in the party and build pressure with the help of his supporters.
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Trump is playing with fire again
After the storming of the Capitol, the blocking of his accounts on the social networks and the failed impeachment proceedings against him, the goal seems clear. With a view to a possible candidacy in the US election in 2024, Trump was not allowed to disappear from the political stage for too long. He wants to go back into the spotlight in order to remain present in the minds of his followers – because the block on Twitter alone is currently making self-promotion much more difficult for him.
Trump supporters occupy the parliament building in the US capital Washington, DC (Source: REUTERS / Leah Millis)
In order to consolidate his influence with the Republicans, he must show strength after the election defeat. For this, Trump – as US broadcaster learned from circles of the former president – will apparently again disseminate his unproven theses about fraud in the US election. So he’s playing with fire again, in a country where the social mood is already explosive after the storm on the US Capitol in January.
A planned celebration
The location and the event are no coincidence, it will be a comeback among friends for Trump. The CPAC is an annual meeting of Conservative America and the spectacle receives a lot of media attention. Even in the run-up to the four-day event, the media response to the speech on Sunday was huge. Trump’s calculation seems to be working, he has the largest possible stage in the USA and internationally.
The list of speakers is also a mix of conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters. The conference is chaired by Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the American Conservative Union. Schlapp supported Trump in the campaign against his election defeat and spread rumors of election fraud in Nevada.
The CPAC takes place on four days, from Thursday to Sunday: Donald Trump speaks on Sunday, his son Donald Trump Jr. gave his speech on Friday. (Source: Reuters)
Among the invited speakers are many other supporters of the former president: his son Donald Trump Jr., Cleta Mitchell, a former Trump attorney, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the right-wing populist Tea Party Patriots, and Republican Mo Brooks, who tried Trump in Congress Putsch support. In addition, there are speakers like Angela Stanton-King, who supports the conspiracy theorists of QAnon and called the storm of Trump supporters on the Capitol as a “staging”.
What is Trump talking about?
Trump has a big stage and will speak framed by supporters. Many US media have been speculating about the content for days. From those around the former president, it was said: Trump would speak about “the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and the “catastrophic” amnesty and border policies of his successor Joe Biden.
Trump’s main goal is to win the power struggle in his own party. A possible taste of the Orlando speech is a statement by Trump on Tuesday in which he spoke to his party’s influential Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, covered with violent verbal attacks and the party had suggested his removal.
Mitch McConnell: The Republican minority leader in the Senate is one of the most prominent critics of the former US president among Republicans. (Source: Reuters)
McConnell is “one of the most unpopular politicians in the US”, a “gloomy, disgruntled” politician who “does not smile”. The 79-year-old lacks “political understanding, wisdom, talent and personality”. “If the Republican senators stand by him, they will never win elections again,” Trump continued. The former Senate majority leader also lets himself be brought before the Democrats and weakens the Republicans.
Through fear to keep power
McConnell has long been an important ally of Trump in Congress. After storming the Capitol on January 6, the powerful puller clearly distanced himself from Trump and made him jointly responsible for the violence.
Above all, Trump’s attacks show what role the former president would like to take up to a possible renewed presidential candidacy in 2024. He wants to be kingmaker for the Republicans in the 2022 congressional elections. His message is clear: you won’t win without me. If you stand against me, I’ll riot against you at the republican base.
Trump spoke at the CPAC conference in 2020 – and hugged a US flag. (Source: AP / dpa)
Trump fights for power by spreading fear in his own party. That puts the Republicans in a dilemma. Should the confrontation with Trump split the party – or if the former US president carried out his threat and found his own party – the Republicans would have no chance against the Democrats in many elections. Trump also uses this as a means of political leverage.
“We have tremendous approval”
Founding a new party would also harm Trump, however, because a divided conservative camp would also minimize his chances of returning to the White House. A renewed candidacy could in any case be a topic in his speech, so far he has kept all options open.
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In an interview with right-wing broadcaster Newsmax last week, Trump pondered his future role in politics. “I can’t say yet, but we have tremendous approval,” said Trump. The poll numbers went “through the roof”. Normally the values would drop after impeachment, “but the numbers are very good”.
In fact, the US president’s approval ratings are comparatively poor, but they didn’t completely crash after the attack on the Capitol and the failed impeachment process. According to the US politics website “realclearpolitics.com”, 38 percent of the US population have a positive image of him, 58 percent a negative one. Joe Biden see 52 percent positive, 40 percent negative.
Risk of renewed escalation
The figures show that despite everything, many people continue to be loyal to Trump. This documents the deep division in the country. A current example shows how explosive this social rift is: According to the police, supporters of the ex-US president are openly toying with the idea of carrying out a serious attack on the Capitol in Washington with numerous dead. Members of the militia “have expressed their wish that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many (Congress) members as possible,” said the acting chief of the parliamentary police, Yogananda Pittman, on Thursday. The upcoming speech by Trump’s successor Joe Biden in front of both chambers of congress has been named as the time for the project.
You can buy a statue of Trump in the merchandise shop of the Conservative Political Action Conference: That caused ridicule on the Internet. (Source: AP / dpa)
In the current threatening situation in the USA, an ex-president of all people is speaking this Sunday, who uses division as a political tool to secure power and absolute loyalty from his supporters. He will go on a conflict course with his successor Joe Biden, who wants to put social reconciliation at the center of his tenure.
In the past few weeks, Trump has sat the allegations against himself, he sent lawyers, withdrew, did not come to Biden’s swearing-in, played golf, only now and then he announced verbal attacks on critics in his party. Confirmed by his approval ratings and the failed impeachment procedure, he could launch the attack in Orlando. One thing is certain even before his speech on Sunday: The time of the quiet Trump tones has ended for the time being.