Former President Donald Trump will attack President Joe Biden’s abrupt reversals of his policies and lay out a future for the Republican Party in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday afternoon, sources told Fox News.
Trump will hammer Biden on immigration and China. Biden has rushed to reverse Trump’s policies on immigration, including the former president’s limits on immigration to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Biden has moved so fast that a federal court blocked his moratorium on deportations mere days into his presidency.
The former president would be wise to train his fire on his successor, especially since Biden is rushing headlong into divisive and dangerous policies. Biden’s extensive climate executive order will hobble America’s national security, just as he tries to resurrect the Iran deal, and throws open America’s southern border. The new president’s policies will wreak havoc on the nation, and Republicans need to focus on explaining to the American people just how dangerous they are.
Trump will also lay out a future path for the Republican Party. According to Fox News, the former president “is expected to fall just short of announcing a 2024 presidential bid.” The sources said Trump will go between “warming up to the idea of a 2024 run, and walking right up to the line of announcing another campaign,” but he is not expected to make the formal announcement.
While CPAC has traditionally taken place in the Washington, D.C., area, the American Conservative Union has moved the conference to Orlando, Fla., this year. Trump will speak, but former Vice President Mike Pence will not.
A few central questions about Trump’s speech remain unanswered. Will the former president relitigate the 2020 election? He has previously claimed that the election was rigged and that he should have won in a landslide. While issues of voter integrity plagued the 2020 election and Trump would be right to call for election reform, it would be a mistake for him to claim the election was stolen.
Will Trump attack the Republicans who voted to impeach and remove him from office? Last week, the former president effectively launched a GOP civil war by ripping into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who echoed Democrats’ accusations that Trump incited the Capitol riot on January 6. This week, Axios reported that Trump will support primary challenges against some of the Republicans who oppose him and that Trump will give funding and endorsements to “the Trumpiest candidates.”
Trump should tout his strong policy legacy, attack Biden’s excesses, and attempt to unify the party behind a conservative vision. He should resist the urge to relitigate the 2020 election and eviscerate his fellow Republicans. If the GOP can unify, the party has a real chance at retaking the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2022. Biden backlash is building, and Republicans need Trump to direct their energies in one powerful direction.
This CPAC speech will be Trump’s first major address after his presidency, and it comes with great potential for leadership and grave peril if he takes it in a different direction. Democrats are working overtime to tie Trump to the Capitol riot, and if he relitigates the 2020 election or gives any hint that he supported the rioters — not the large crowd of Trump supporters on January 6, but the small band of lawbreakers who breached the Capitol — he will give them the excuse they’re salivating for.
Similarly, if Trump tears open the GOP, he may unwittingly allow Democrats to achieve what was likely their true goal in impeachment — pitting Republicans against one another. With Biden in the White House, conservatism and the Republican Party are more important than ever. Trump should put his very reasonable grudges in perspective and seek unity, keeping his eyes on the prize of 2022.
Whatever happens, stay tuned on Sunday for one hell of a speech.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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