YouDonald Trump unleashed some autocratic, big ideas for running America in his first Washington speech since losing his second term. Riffing off his written remarks, Trump said the government should “remove” thousands of homeless Americans and put them in tents on “large parcels of inexpensive land in the outer reaches of the cities” with “permanent bathrooms” and “medical professionals.” He said the U.S. should “execute” drug dealers, praised how China prosecutes criminals, and called for a “return to stop-and-frisk policies in cities.” If he were still running the country, he said, he would override governors and mayors and send the national guard to neighborhoods with high crime rates.
Since his departure from office, the former President had a grim vision for America. “We’re a war zone,” he said, adding, “There is no longer respect for the law and there certainly is no order. Our country is now a cesspool of crime.”
He also claimed that he had won the 2020 elections. After noting that he ran for President the first time and won, he continued, “I won a second time, did much better a second time. He did a lot more. He did a lot more. Very corrupt.” Trump said he thought Richard Nixon, who resigned from the presidency in disgrace after abusing his power in office, “always regretted that he didn’t fight.”
Trump almost assured that he would run for the presidency in 2024. As the audience of about 800 in the crowded hotel ballroom chanted, “Four more years,” Trump said the country was getting ready for “an incredible comeback” if Republicans take back Congress and the White House. “I’m doing it for America and it is my honor to do it,” Trump said about considering running for president again. “If I don’t, our nation is doomed.”
Looming over Trump’s remarks was the work of the Jan. 6 committee, which wrapped up a series of revealing hearings last week that offered evidence of how Trump’s actions led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. On Thursday, the final hearing focused on Trump’s refusal to calm his supporters who were becoming a violent mob. Trump defended those who had been charged for their role in storming the Capitol Building, alleging they were being “tortured and handled so horribly.” “People are not going to take it much longer,” Trump said, echoing the justifications he’s made in the past for his supporters turning violent.
Trump was the last speaker of a summit organized by America First Policy Institute to discuss how to further his agenda in the future. Two-day summit was reminiscent of traditional Washington policy events, with panels discussing national security, policy on healthcare, and policing. On tables, policy papers were displayed. One paper was titled, “Tales from the Swamp: How Federal Bureaucrats Resisted President Trump.” The 35-page report detailed ways that civil servants blocked or slowed down policies Trump wanted done and called for Congress to empower Presidents to more easily fire civil servants.
It was like a reunion for people who worked at the Trump White House. Between events, Trump’s former campaign manager and White House aide Kellyanne Conway greeted former White House colleagues like press aide Hogan Gidley and Trump’s former head speech writer and senior advisor Stephen Miller. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a former White House Press Secretary and she was present as well.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy was the House’s most powerful Republican. McCarthy predicts that he will succeed Nancy Peloi next year as House Speaker and will be replaced by Republicans in the midterm elections. “We can lock in a conservative majority for the decade,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy didn’t mention Trump’s actions during or leading up to the Capitol attack, on Jan. 6, which he harshly criticized in the days after it. Speaking on the House floor on Jan. 13, 2021, McCarthy said Trump “bears responsibility” for the deadly riot. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” McCarthy said at the time.
Trump’s return to Washington on Tuesday did not go unnoticed throughout the rest of the city. Before Trump came on stage, a van circled the hotel with a big-screen display that read “Biden won the election with 81,000 votes (most in history)” “Welcome back to Washington, D.C. Trump, you lost.” Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence was at another hotel in the area, addressing the National Conservative Student Conference hosted by the Young America’s Foundation, where he gave a veiled criticism of Trump’s election denials. Elections should be about the future, he said, and Republicans should not “look back.”
Next week, Trump will hold a rally at Waukesha to show support for Tim Michels, his choice as Governor of Wisconsin. Michaels refused to recognize that Biden was the winner of Wisconsin.
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