The twice-impeached former president made his first public appearance since leaving office.
On Sunday, Trump was the main speaker at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). And according to a Fox News commentator, the event had the cult-like, MAGA hat-wearing attendees calling it TPAC instead of CPAC, because of their seeming undying devotion to him.
So, even though Trump’s speech stretched over 90 boring minutes, he did not disappoint his diehard fans in attendance. However, whether they will admit it or not, other members of the GOP establishment may not have been as thrilled — especially those who’ve ever had a moment of integrity and stood up to him.
Before Trump got around to naming names, he started his speech by first making some news and attempting to squash rumors that he wants to start his own political party.
— Peter Wade (@brooklynmutt) March 1, 2021
“I want you to know that 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,” Trump said.
“We’re not starting new parties. You know, 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,” Trump said.
Of course, Trump called the stories that he’d start a new party “fake news” and then mocked the idea by sarcastically explaining how dumb it is.
“That was fake news, fake news,” Trump said. “Now, wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote so that you can never win. No, we’re not interested in that.”
But, to no one’s surprise, according to the Washington Post, it was Trump who started those rumors when he “entertained the creation of a new ‘MAGA Party’ ” for weeks after losing the election.
Later in the speech, Trump contradicted his inter-party unity message by railing against many of those in the GOP who have dared speak against him.
Trump compared “top establishment Republicans in Washington” to “radical Democrats” and then blasted each by name.
“We cannot have leaders who show more passion for condemning their fellow Americans than they have ever shown for standing up to Democrats, the media, and the radicals who want to turn America into a socialist country,” Trump said.
“Instead of attacking me and more importantly, the voters of our movement, top establishment Republicans in Washington should be spending their energy in opposing Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and the Democrats. I’ve said to some of them, I said: ‘You know, during the Obama years and now during Biden, if you spent the same energy on attacking them, you’d actually be successful. As you do all attacking me, in many cases.’ ”
Trump then rattled off a list of who he called “grandstanders,” and tossed in a few nicknames for good measure.
“The Democrats don’t have grandstanders like Mitt Romney, little Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey.”
The former president then paused as the crowd loudly booed those he named.
Trump continued, “And in the House, Tom Rice… Adam Kinzinger, Dan Newhouse, Anthony Gonzalez — that’s another beauty. Fred Upton, Jamie Herrera Beutler, Peter Meijer, John Katko, David Valadao.”
Trump finally got around to Liz Cheney, who has publicly criticized the former president numerous times for his actions of January 6th, voted to impeach him and said he shouldn’t have been invited to CPAC.
“And of course, the warmonger, a person that loves seeing our troops fighting, Liz Cheney. How about that?” Trump added, “The good news is in her state she’s been censured. And in her state, her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being I’ve ever seen.”
Trump, who moments earlier spoke about party unity, and the need for it to win, then said:
“So hopefully they’ll get rid of [Cheney] with the next election, get rid of them all.”