Twice-Impeached Trump Teases 2024 Run in First Post-Presidency Remarks, Denies Starting a 'New Party'
In his first public appearance since leaving office on Jan. 20, Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, over the weekend.
Trump's speech mixed personal insults of Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci along with conspiracy theories about how he had actually won the last election. "Do you miss me yet?" the former president, 74, said on Sunday as he made the conference's closing speech, which he gave over an hour after his scheduled start time.
Speaking about his "incredible journey," he also said, "It is far from being over."
Elsewhere in his address, Trump did not definitively declare a 2024 presidential candidacy, but did say: "Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time."
Later, he also told the crowd of cheering supporters that he would not form a new party. "We're not starting new parties. They kept saying, 'He's going to start a new party!' We have the Republican Party! It's going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news," Trump said.
Over an hour into his speech, he falsely told the crowd, "This election was rigged." And in reference to the results of the election, Trump also made a dig at the Supreme Court. "They didn't have the guts or the courage to make the right decision," he said.
In addition, he criticized President Joe Biden and demanded that his successor "get the schools open" amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Along with CPAC being his first public appearance since leaving office, the event also marked his first official address after a mob of Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress in a deadly scene in which five people died and lawmakers including former Vice President Mike Pence had to quickly escape the building.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who has repeatedly criticized Trump in the past, said this week he believes Trump would win the nomination if he launched a 2024 campaign.
"Will President Trump continue to play a role in my party? I'm sure he will," Romney, 73, told the New York Times' Dealbook in a virtual interview that aired last Tuesday. "He has by far the largest voice and a big impact in my party ... I don't know if he'll run in 2024 or not, but if he does I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination."
While Romney said he would not back the ex-president were he to run again, others have already said they would support Trump.
Trump arrived at his private club with 29 minutes left in his presidency, less than a half hour before Biden, 78, took office. He waved to reporters and mouthed "thank you," but did not stop to talk.
Earlier this month, Trump was acquitted in his unprecedented second impeachment trial after being charged in January with inciting an insurrection following the deadly mob.