Donald Trump supporters applauded their hero on Saturday on the third day of the annual American Conservatives’ Grand Convention in Orlando, Florida, with red caps and the United States flags.
At CPAC, the former president, who has not lost his aura among the participants, made an 86-minute speech in the evening, hammering his usual formulas against “the radical left” and its “witch hunt” against him.
And after a year away from the public eye, the fervour with which the billionaire was received shows that the Republican Party is still dominated by the aura of the former president, who served only one term and has faced two impeachment trials.
“Four more years”
The slogan “Four more years!” was intoned by his supporters, who cheered wildly as he spoke out against “woke tyranny” and “cancel culture”.
The 75-year-old billionaire drew the most applause when he called it “bullshit” that the Democrats are presenting themselves as the party of democracy, and when he said that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “came to the White House and licked my ass”.
He also repeated, without proof, that the 2020 election had been “rigged”, and hinted at a possible candidacy in 2024, such as when he said: “We did it twice and we let’s do it again,” presenting his 2020 defeat as a victory – but he left the public uncertain whether he would personally challenge Joe Biden for the next presidential term.
The former US president also praised the “smart” Russian President Vladimir Putin, who launched an invasion of Ukraine. He criticized Western leaders, as “so stupid”.
NATO “seems anything but intelligent”
According to the Republican, NATO “looks anything but smart” in slapping Russia with sanctions instead of deciding to “pull it to pieces – at least psychologically.”
“The problem is not that Putin is smart because of course he is smart,” he continued. “The real problem is that our leaders are so stupid,” he said, blaming Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the “weakness” of his successor in the White House Joe Biden.
Before the intervention of the former president, the atmosphere had changed in the hotel where the convention is held. Thus flourished banners “Trump 2024” – the year of the upcoming presidential election – and pins proclaiming that the last election, won by Democrat Joe Biden, was stolen from him.
Signs also do not hesitate to insult the current president.
People everywhere wear caps with Donald Trump’s flagship slogan, “Make America Great Again”. Students, couples with children, elderly people, they all came for him.
For many conservatives here, Mr. Trump is the providential man, the one they hope to see a return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.