If there was any prior doubt about a future role, it has certainly gone away. Former President Donald Trump is staking his claim as a prominent voice in the Republican Party moving forward, hinting at a possible 2024 run and vowing to help support primaries against two west Michigan congressmen.
In front of a crowd of raucous supporters at CPAC in Orlando, Florida Trump spoke for nearly two hours, running back some of his campaign trail hits and going after President Joe Biden for his policies.
“They are anti jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy. In just one short month we’ve gone from America first to America last,” Trump said about the Biden administration.
Trump also hinted at a potential 2024 run for president, while continuing to falsely claim he won the last election.
“Actually as you know, [Democrats] just lost the White House, but it’s one of those, but who knows? Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time, ok?” Trump claimed.
That potential run would be as a Republican, the 45th president saying rumors of him starting or supporting a third party are false
“You know they kept saying, ‘he’s gonna start a brand 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,” Trump said.
While Trump may have called for GOP unity, n he continued sowing division in his party by calling out the seven senators and 10 House members who voted to impeach him following the deadly attack on the Capitol.
He called each one out by name, including U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph and Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids. Vowing to support primaries against them and telling supporters, ‘Get rid of ‘em all.’
And while many ex-presidents tend to take a back seat, Trump says his journey is far from over.
"I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together, we went through a journey like nobody else, there's never been a journey like it, there's never been a journey so successful, we began it together four years ago, and it is far from over,” he said.
With the Trump-centric CPAC now over, some Republicans say being too-Trump could cost them future elections.
"We idolize one person, we will lose and that's kind of clear from the last election," Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana said.
Trump also won the CPAC straw poll for potential 2024 nominees, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finished second.