‘Do it again, a third time.’ Trump gives strongest hint yet he’ll run in 2024

Former president appears poised to try for White House again with few serious GOP rivals.

Updated: February 27, 2022 - 8:11am

President Donald Trump took the stage at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday evening giving his strongest signal yet that he will be mounting another run for the presidency in 2024, promising that he would win the White House "a third time" in the next presidential election.

The former president, who headlined the major Saturday daylong CPAC event lineup, told the crowd that "socialists, Marxists, globalists and communists ... cannot even begin to imagine the righteous spirit they have released" among conservatives throughout the United States.

But in November of 2024, "they will find out like never before," Trump vowed. "We did it twice, and we'll do it again. We're going to do it again, a third time."

Trump electrified the Republican Party and the country in the 2016 elections with his unorthodox brand of conservative politics, one that emphasized take-no-holds criticism of modern progressivism as well as an emphasis on what he called the "forgotten man" left disadvantaged by years of globalist policies and Democratic failures. 

The former president continued that style of populist conservatism through his four years in the White House, remaining broadly popular among Republican voters during that time. His loss in the 2020 race appears to have had little effect on his standing among conservative voters, as he has retained a solid standing in Republican polls over the last nearly year-and-a-half since the election. 

Trump's freewheeling political style — established at rallies at which he riffs on a cascading series of subjects and engages with lively crowds at length — is no longer as novel as it once was, though he retains the loyalty of a committed base of millions of supporters and regularly draws huge crowds to his current rallies.

During his speech, Trump stressed the critical nature of the U.S. presidency, citing lessons he had learned during his four years at the White House and using the opportunity to take a jab at President Biden's alleged lack of stamina. 

"I never knew how important being president was. The importance of the president, when I look at what’s happening to our country today," he said

"Just a wrong word," he said to laughter in the crowd, "or a yawn, or going to sleep very early, like at 4 o’clock...” 

The president also cited the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine as evidence of the Biden administration's incompetence, claiming that the Biden administration has failed to keep Russian president Vladimir Putin in check and that the Putin "is playing Biden like a drum."

"The problem is not that Putin is smart," Trump said. "The real problem is that our leaders are dumb."

Notably, this year's CPAC is taking place in Florida, a state presided over by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. Among likely Republican challengers for the 2024 election, DeSantis has emerged as the potential candidate most likely to pose a serious challenge to Trump's securing the Republican nomination. 

Trump has been a major backer of DeSantis and is widely credited as a significant reason for DeSantis' 2018 gubernatorial victory. The two politicians have apparently remained on good terms since then, though they have lately sparred over issues including COVID policies, with DeSantis criticizing Trump for what the Florida Republican claimed was misguided support of COVID rules early in the pandemic. 

DeSantis has thus far given little indication that he plans to run for the presidency in 2024. The governor is up for reelection this year, with many polls showing him consistently beating his Democratic rivals.

During his speech at CPAC, meanwhile, Trump continuously intimated his own imminent ambitions of running for the White House again. “No matter how you look at it, our country has totally lost its self-confidence," he said at one point. "We as a country have no confidence anymore.”

“But we will get it back," he added, "and we will get it back stronger than ever before.”