Trump at CPAC: 'The era of woke and weaponized government is over'
Trump spoke for nearly two hours to close the annual event, where he decisively won the attendees' 2024 GOP presidential nominee straw poll.
Former President Donald Trump told his supporters at the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday that he will "never retreat" and vowed to plow "fearlessly ahead" because if the Democrats win in 2024, "we no longer have a country."
In his nearly two-hour speech at the event at Maryland's National Harbor, outside of Washington, D.C., Trump also declared that the "era of woke and weaponized government is over" and said he would "demolish" the federal government's deep state.
"We're going to finish what we started," Trump told the CPAC audience after his president straw poll win. "In 2016, I declared I am your voice. Today I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. I am your retribution."
Early in his speech to the pro-Trump crowd, the former president said the "Republican Party was ruled by freaks, neocons, open border zealots and fools" and "we're never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush."
Trump vowed to "expel the war mongers" and "drive out the globalist" if he wins in 2024.
"We will evict Joe Biden from the White House," he said. "We are never going to be a country ruled by entrenched political dynasties in both parties, rotten special interests, China loving politicians of which there are many. You listening to this [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell?"
Trump also pledged to protect Social Security and Medicare.
The former president questioned why NATO isn't matching the United States' spending on the war in Ukraine.
"Why isn't NATO putting up dollar for dollar with us?" he asked. "We all want to see success but it's far more important to them than it is us."
Trump touted how there were no new wars under his presidency, despite what some of his opponents predicted.
"I finished some old wars," he said.
He described his foreign policy record as "peace through strength."
Trump poked fun at Hunter Biden, the president's son, for leaving his "laptop from hell" behind at a repair shop.
"What's on it?" Biden might have asked Hunter, Trump quipped. "Every crime you've ever committed, Dad."
Trump told the crowd he "will put the people back in charge of this country again."
Winning a second term would be the Democrats "worst nightmare," Trump added.
He said stopping endless wars is at the top of his agenda in a second term, which he described as his “final battle.”
Trump noted that he eliminated ISIS and that Russia didn't take over any countries while he was president.
"With Bush, they invaded Georgia. With Obama, they took Crimea, and with Biden they're trying to take everything and he won't even know they took it. It's true," he said. "With me, they took nothing, nothing and I didn't even really have to threaten them much."
Trump said Biden is "leading us into oblivion" and predicted that there will be World War III if "something doesn't happen" very fast. He described himself as the only candidate who can prevent it.
"I will prevent and very easily, World War III, very easily," he said. "You're going to have World War III if something doesn't happen fast."
Trump promised to secure America's border first instead of spending U.S. tax dollars to protect the borders of foreign countries.
If he wins, Trump said he will sign a reconciliation bill with a massive increase in border patrol agents and Immigration and Customers Enforcement officers.
He gave a snapshot into his agenda on crime, vowing to send in the National Guard to cities with high crime rates. Trump also said he would crackdown on prosecutors using a "race-based" enforcement of the law.
Trump called for the federal government to take over management of Washington, D.C., citing the amount of trash and homeless encampments on streets.
He pledged to keep biological men out of women's sports. Trump also said he would enforce recommendations of the 1776 Commission so Americans can be "proud of our country again."
Trump said it's time to declare independence from China and hold them accountable for the COVID outbreak. He referred to the World Health Organization (WHO) as "We Hide Outbreaks."
Trump told the crowd that "change only happens if we plow fearlessly ahead and declare with one voice that the era of woke and weaponized government is over."
Trump has credited CPAC with launching his political career.