Trump at CPAC: 'America is on the edge of an abyss'
Donald Trump on Saturday delivered stinging rebukes of the Biden administration at the Dallas Conservative Political Action Conference, one of a continuing series of indications that the still-popular former president has set his sights on a return to the White House for 2024.
Trump during his speech declared that the U.S. "is being destroyed more from the inside than the out," and that the country "is on the edge of an abyss, and our movement is the only force on earth that can save it."
"What we do in the next few months and the next few years will determine whether American civilization will collapse or fail or whether it will triumph, thrive — frankly, like never before," Trump said.
The president urged attendees to lead the movement to "fire Joe Biden" as well as numerous other top-ranking Democrats in Congress, accusing the Biden administration of "breathtaking failure" at numerous policy levels.
Slamming recent massive surges in gas prices, Trump declared: "It's not even believable.”
The former president cited what he described as America's "energy dominance" under his administration, but claimed that "now the United States is becoming a beggar for energy. We're begging."
Riffing in his familiar freewheeling style, Trump at the outset of the speech hailed the attendees of the conference as "the beating heart of the conservative movement" and the "loyal defenders of our heritage."
The former president also signaled out several of his loyal supporters at the event, including Reps. Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Trump, who since leaving office has launched the popular social network Truth Social while endorsing and stumping for Republican candidates across the country, has dropped stronger and stronger hints over the past year that he will seek a return to the White House.
The former president in his usual calculated style has not yet come right out to declare his intentions, though he has all but confirmed it one way or another. "I've already made that decision," he said last month regarding 2024.
If he does choose to run, Trump will likely face at least some challenges from fellow Republicans, possibly including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has demonstrated strong appeal in 2024 polls due to his enormous popularity heading up that state.
Speculation has swirled around whether DeSantis would sign on as vice president on a Trump ticket or — more improbably — whether Trump would agree to be veep to DeSantis. Yet the broad popularity of both means that there will likely be a showdown over the next 18 months regarding who will take the Republican nomination and ultimately take on Democrats in the next presidential election.
Trump, meanwhile, has spared no effort in criticizing the Biden administration, a strong sign that he is working to compare Joe Biden's governance both to his own first term and a potential term to come.
"[Democrats] are working feverishly to pile on more regulations at levels never seen before," Trump said at a rally in Wisconsin this week. "You're going to have regulations like nobody's ever seen before."