Former President Donald Trump excoriated President Joe Biden in his first post-presidency speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla. Trump ripped into Biden’s record on immigration, China, and more.
“Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history,” Trump declared. “Already the Biden administration has proven that they are anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women, and anti-science. In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last.”
The former president argued that there is “no better example” of Biden’s failure “than the new and horrible crisis on our southern border.”
“Joe Biden has triggered a massive flood of illegal immigration into our country the likes of which we have never seen before,” Trump declared, noting that Biden has loosened the enforcement of immigration law. He accused Biden of “enriching child smugglers” and having “put the vile coyotes back in business.”
“Biden has failed in his number one duty as chief executive, enforcing America’s laws,” the former president argued. “This alone should be reason enough for Democrats to suffer withering losses in the mid-terms and to lose the White House decisively four years from now.”
Trump attacked Biden for “bragging about the classroom education they are providing” to migrant children on the border while covering for “anti-science school closures.”
“Joe Biden sold out America’s children to the teachers’ unions,” Trump declared, referencing the fact that Biden has excused the continued closure of schools, even though the data shows that children are unlikely to contract or spread the virus. “His position is morally inexcusable, you know that. Joe Biden has shamefully betrayed America’s youth.”
Citing the increased depression among students who can no longer return to school, Trump called Biden’s decision to cover for teachers’ unions instead of urging school reopening “a scandal of the highest order and one of the most craven acts by any president in our lifetimes.”
Trump noted that Democrats claim the Senate has to pass their “$1.9 trillion boondoggle” in order to reopen schools, even though “billions of dollars for schools remain unspent from the COVID relief bills.”
“I call on Joe Biden to get the schools open and get them open now,” the former president said.
Trump also touted his Operation Warp Speed, which prepared COVID-19 vaccines in record time. “It would have taken any other president at least five years, and we got it done in nine months,” he said. Trump remarked that “if we had an honest media,” the legacy news outlets would report that almost 20 million Americans had already been vaccinated by the end of Trump’s term, and 1.5 million doses were administered on his final day.
“Yet Biden said when he got here there was no vaccine,” Trump said. While President Biden did not himself say this, Vice President Kamala Harris said the Biden administration started from “scratch” on vaccine distribution, a false claim Dr. Anthony Fauci disputed.
Trump mentioned a few of his own policies Biden reversed during his first few days in office. Biden reinstituted Marxist critical race theory trainings — what Trump rightly called “politically-corrupt far-left indoctrination trainings” — that Trump had banned. Biden eliminated Trump’s “national security travel bans” on countries of terror concern — travel restrictions the Democrats have demonized as a “Muslim ban.” He mentioned that Biden “foolishly” withdrew Trump administration sanctions on Iran, without even beginning negotiations first!
Trump noted that Biden rushed to get America back into the World Health Organization (WHO), despite the WHO’s shameful complicity with China’s COVID-19 malfeasance. He noted Biden’s rush to reenter the Paris climate accord, despite America’s improving air quality. “What good does it do when we’re clean and China’s not, and Russia’s not, and India’s not?” Trump asked.
The former president excoriated Biden for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, destroying thousands of jobs.
Trump also hit Biden’s radical support for transgender ideology, specifically the damage this ideology wreaks on women’s sports. He noted that biological males are shattering records in women’s sports because women are “forced to compete against those who are biological males.”
“We must protect the integrity of women’s sports, so important,” the former president said.
Trump also made a jab at the scandal surrounding Joe Biden and his son Hunter, whose former business partner said Joe Biden had a role in Hunter Biden’s extensive deals with Chinese companies. “They have a very close personal relationship with China,” the former president quipped.
Trump outlined the platform of “Trumpism” built on America first, strong trade deals, an emphasis on jobs, election integrity, and more.
“The future of the Republican Party is a party that defends the social, economic, and cultural interest and values of every race, color, and creed,” he said. “That is why we are growing so rapidly.”
“We embrace free thought, we reject political correctness, we reject left-wing lunacy, and in particular, we reject cancel culture,” he declared. “We affirm that the Constitution means exactly what it says, as written. … We believe in law and order.”
“Their party is based upon unvarnished disdain for America,” Trump said. “Our party is based on love for America and the belief that this is an exceptional nation blessed by God.” He celebrated America’s founders in a tacit condemnation of the mobs that tear down statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The former president dismissed the idea of creating a third party. “Let’s divide our vote so that you can never win. No, we’re not interested in that,” Trump said.
Trump focused most of his speech on Biden, urging the GOP to prepare for the 2022 midterm elections, but he also teased a third presidential run in 2024 and repeated the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. “I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” Trump said. He referred to Melania Trump as “our great future first lady.”
“This election was rigged,” Trump declared while calling for election reform. “They didn’t have the courage, the Supreme Court. They didn’t have the courage to act.” He noted the horrific Time story in which pro-Biden forces confessed to organizing a “cabal” to “save” the 2020 election from Trump.
Trump’s emphasis on Biden’s policies will help energize the GOP, but his decision to relitigate the 2020 election may undermine the Republican Party’s unity ahead of the 2022 midterms. Republicans should come together to support election integrity reforms, but Trump conceded the 2020 election and left the White House. He should not claim he “really” won.
The former president was at his best in condemning Biden, opposing cancel culture, and laying out a future for the GOP. Whether or not he goes on to be the 2024 Republican nominee, Trump will be a powerful force for conservatism going forward.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.