On Sunday, former President Donald Trump returned to the stage for CPAC, which was held over the weekend in Dallas. Trump also spoke at CPAC on February 28, held in Orlando.
While the former president has emphasized his signature "Make America Great Again Line" at the conclusion of his remarks, he did so in the beginning this time as well, to much applause and a standing ovation.
Mere moments into his speech, a couple yelled what seemed to be "Trump won," to which the former president responded "it's true" and "we all won."
Trump warned about how our "heritage is under threat like never before" to such an extent that "even Bernie Sanders is saying, I never thought this could happen. He's mild by comparison," to how "in a matter of mere months, Joe Biden has brought our country to the brink of ruin."
While Trump, expectedly, often mentions the crisis at the border at his rallies and speeches, he was in a particularly unique position to do so at CPAC in Dallas. "Right here in Texas we are the epicenter of a border and migration crisis unlike anything anyone has ever seen before in the history of our country," he warned, while also touting his "Remain in Mexico" policy, relationship with the president of Mexico, and the reduction of illegal immigrants and drugs, as well as building of the border wall.
Not only did Trump warn about how the border has worsened under Biden, but to the point where Trump lamented that it "has turned into the single greatest disaster in American history, and perhaps in world history."
Through chain migration and a lack of ICE removals, Trump warned that "our whole country has become a border" and "all of America's now one giant sanctuary city."
Trump made reference to the surges in violent crime, which he said is reaching "epidemic proportions." This is in reference to but not solely because of illegal immigrants. He also spoke of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and the destruction they caused for Portland and New York City in particular, though it's "innocent Republicans [who] are being prosecuted" in the latter.
Democrats have also provided Trump, and the Republican Party as a whole, with talking points about "disinformation," particularly as it applies to claims from the White House that it is Republicans who want to defund the police.
"If the Democrats know their policies on crime are so unpopular, so radical, so crazy they are now trying to pretend they never led the defund the police movement in the first place. Disinformation. We never said defund the police, you know who did? The Republicans did it. That's what they do. It's called disinformation," he said, also using Russia as an example.
"There's never been anything like it," he said about Democratic run cities and their defund the police efforts.
Another part of the speech which particularly energized the crowd included reference to the class action lawsuit against Big Tech. To be sure, Trump has had major issues with, as he calls them, the "Silicon Valley tyrants," also likening them to "a spoiled child." He listed off his being removed from Facebook and Twitter and the erosion of his First Amendment rights in that regard, but also his concerns that they had meddled with the 2020 election.
Trump pointed out that other countries are looking to the United States as an example of what not to do. "The Big tech Election interference in 2020 was an outrageous assault upon our republic and upon the American voter," the former president said.
He brought up specifics too, namely the censorship of The New York Post, and their coverage of Hunter Biden, while also reminding the crowd of Hunter's income from his paintings. "He set a record for the highest price for a person that never painted a picture before," Trump quipped.
Trump also mentioned a poll's finding, which came from an MRC poll, that showed at least 10 percent of Biden voters would have switched their vote if they knew about Joe and Hunter Biden's scandals, which would have been enough to flip the vote in multiple states.
Trump would reference Joe and Hunter Biden throughout his speech as well, including from when the time Joe Biden was vice president.
He also tied in cancel culture with Big Tech and their censoring of an election, saying that these companies "interfered with and undermined the sacred integrity of the ballot box by censoring any honest discussion of
election fraud," pointing to a TIME magazine cover article from earlier this year.
Trump particularly took issue with the media's claim that there is "no evidence" of election fraud.
"There's bad things going on in this country, very bad things," the former president lamented, as he also pointed out how in the past "we always had the reputation of being a wonderful, brilliant country for voting," a point he would emphasize through the night.
The heavily derided Georgia voting law, which is currently being sued by the Department of Justice, also came up, though Trump said, as he has in the past, that it doesn't go far enough. He expressed particular disappointment with the governor and secretary of state in Georgia.
To a long applause and chants of "USA," Trump told the crowd to "never forget that the radical left is not the majority in this country. We are the majority, and it's not even close. It's not even close," a sentiment he would reference throughout the night.
It's not merely Big Tech who Trump blamed for his loss in 2020, but the pollsters having him down by double digits with a "fake poll" which he said "should be illegal" and amounts to "suppression."
Trump once more mentioned his friends and critics in the Republican Party, this time also criticizing Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). He referred to the latter as "the war monger and most quoted Republican in the history of our country by Democrats."
Repeating a similar point made at his rally in Sarasota when it comes to his critics within the Republican Party, "the Democrats are terrible on policy, but they're very vicious and they're smart, and they stick together," pointing out that "it must be wonderful to live like that," but also warning that "they have bad policy, and they have policy that's going to destroy our country."
Trump's speech took on a much more serious tone. "Like socialist and communist movements throughout history, today's leftists do not believe in freedom, they do not believe in fairness, and they do not believe in democracy. They believe in Marxist morality, anything is justified as long as it hurts their political opponents and advances the radical agenda of their party. It's a radical agenda like nobody has seen before. Before our very eyes, the radical left Democrats are turning the law itself into a weapon for partisan persecution. It's persecution," he said, using the example of Rudy Giuliani.
He also expressed concern that there is "now two sets of laws in this country," for those on the left and those on the right, especially if they want to talk about the 2020 election.
On this issue of "countless abuses from Democrats," Trump made remarks about his own former attorney general who resigned shortly before Trump's term ended. He expressed disappointment with how Barr "wanted nothing to do with it" on election fraud and other abuses.
Trump said he did always like Barr, but that he became a different man when the Democrats threatened to impeach him. Later in his speech he would also reference how the way Justice Brett Kavanaugh was treated during his confirmation theories, and the threats of being impeached, is why Trump thinks Kavanaugh "votes with the Democrats."
Trump did insert a bit of his humor into that sobering topic though. "I didn't become different, I got impeached twice, impeached twice. I became worse," he said to laughter from the audience. "I became worse. So I guess I can understand it."
Since this was "true with so many others," Trump offered that this is why there were so many other election issues, such as ballot stuffing in Georgia.
"The fact is the Republicans play a much nicer, kinder game than the Democrats, but based on what we've seen and what we're witnessing now, with all of the prosecutorial and other misconduct going on, perhaps Republicans will have to rethink their game plan," he suggested.
Trump also referred to a lengthy Twitter thread from the user "MartyrMade," which Matt covered over the weekend, about the many reasons why the 2020 election results are so shady to so many people.
Hillary also came up during that part of the speech, who Trump referred to as "the angriest person in the United States," because she was likely to want to know "why the hell didn't you do that to me, in 2016? Why didn't you cheat for me, dammit?"
"I was banned by sleazebags. I was banned by bad people," Trump said about his ban from social media. He went on to describe how "the entire system was rigged against the American people and rigged against a fair, decent and honest election for decades, the conservative movement acted. As if all that mattered where policy fights in Washington or that all it would take to prevail was winning a small handful of supreme court cases."
As a glimpse of how deeply the 2020 election has affected him, Trump listed all sorts of people and institutions he was disappointed in, while also warning that Democrats could ruin these same institutions. This includes the Supreme Court, through court packing, and Trump suggested they would not stop at 13. Trump offered that this is why the Supreme Court would not look at the 2020 results, though he believes he would have won if they did.
In reverting back to comments he made during his speech in Sarasota, shortly after the Trump Organization was indicted on tax crimes in New York, the former president lambasted that state's attorney general, Leticia James, for her being so hellbent on going after him and his family.
"It did not matter whether any laws had been broken. The crime was opposing the radical left Democrat party. This is lawless and tyrannical behavior," Trump said, also calling it "a political persecution, like something straight of the communist countries that you see around the world."
Trump expressed frustrations in Republicans who "just don't seem to understand at that top level, what the hell is happening," and thus offered that there will have to have a change in mission "to resist this poison and fight for our republic with all of our heart and with all of our soul."
While Barr is "a nice man," Trump warned that the Democrats are "vicious, vicious people." Trump went on to lament that nobody else "has ever experienced anything like the deranged and demented persecution that has been directed at me, my family, and everyone associated with us, everybody."
He says it all began when he announced his campaign in 2015, because he "put America first" and "MAGA."
Yet there was a silver lining to this in a sense, then, as Trump thinks that "disgrace" of what's happened has "made the movement stronger."
Towards the end of his speech, Trump reminded the cheering crowd chanting "four more years" that "the Democrats want me out, and they want me out as fast as possible. And here I am. I could have a nice, beautiful life. And here I am on, a Sunday in Texas."
There was also some rather frank honesty, as the former president admitted that if a poll is bad for him he calls it "fake," and if it's good, he'll say "that's the most accurate poll."
After once more reminding the crowd of his administration's successes and contrasting himself to Biden, Trump offered that "everything we do, we refused to bow down to the radical left, the RINOs, the political establishment, and instead we insist on standing up for America, and making America great again, and always putting America first. America has got to be first. Every day more people are realizing that we were right, on all of the key issues," which is why, Trump said, his endorsement "has become the most powerful weapon in politics last year," as he listed his successes.
"We are not backing down, we will never back down," Trump said, offering what will change when Republicans take back control of Congress, although it won't necessarily be easy, he warned. He mentioned control of the border, holding China accountable, breaking up Big Tech, bringing back free speech, taking back elections, voter ID, and defunding critical race theory.
Ultimately, Trump easily won the straw poll by 70 percent. Gov. Ron DeSantis had 21 percent, and no other candidate had above 1 percent.