Former President Donald Trump has floated the idea for a possible third run for the White House in 2024, making it clear that the pathway to get there will go through members of his party who opposed him.
In Trump’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, his first major public appearance since leaving office, the former president attacked his successor, President Biden, and Democrats but made sure to throw equal punches at Republican lawmakers who he felt were against him.
“Instead of attacking me and, more importantly, the voters of our movement, top establishment Republicans in Washington should be spending their energy in opposing Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and the Democrats,” Trump said. “I’ve said to some of them, during the Obama years and now during Biden, if you spent the same energy on attacking them, you’d actually be successful. As you do on attacking me in many cases.”
Trump unveiled a list of GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate who he referred to as “grandstanders,” calling out most who supported impeachment efforts against him. Among those he called out included Sens. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, as well as Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Peter Meijer and Fred Upton. He also singled out Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, calling her a “warmonger.”
“Hopefully, they will get rid of her with the next election. Get rid of them all,” Trump said. “[Democrats are] vicious, they’re smart, and they do one thing, I got to hand it to them, they always stick together. You don’t have Mitt Romney’s in the group. They always stick together.”
Trump teased a third run several times throughout the night, touching on what he deemed to be his greatest accomplishments in the last four years and attacking Biden’s short record as president.
The former president repeated assertions that he believes he was the true winner of the 2020 election due to voter fraud that was never fully investigated. He made claims that Democrats actually lost the White House last year and believes they’ll lose in 2024.
“Actually, as you know, they just lost the White House, but it’s one of those things,” he said. “But who knows? Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time, OK?”
Trump also attacked the Supreme Court for not going further to take on cases, alleging voter fraud, despite the high court being made up of a conservative majority, in which Trump nominated three of the sitting justices.
He zeroed in on the Supreme Court’s decision last week not to hear a GOP-led case to challenge a Pennsylvania state court decision to change election rules ahead of the 2020 election. The rejection got a scathing dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas.
“The Supreme Court did not have the guts and the courage to do anything about it. And neither did other judges,” Trump said.
Speculation about whether Trump will run in 2024 has been high in recent days ahead of Trump’s speech.
Romney, who distanced himself from Trump throughout his presidency, said he believed the former president could secure the GOP nomination if he ran again in 2024.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who Trump labeled as an “unsmiling hack” just weeks ago, said he would “absolutely” support Trump if he was the nominee.
Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, often seen as a close Trump ally, said on Sunday that Trump “will be on the ballot in 2024.”
Despite rumors that the former president was mulling starting a new political party, Trump dismissed them as “fake news,” saying he was determined to rebuilt and remain in the Republican Party.
“There’s never been a journey so successful,” Trump said. “We began it together four years ago, and it is far from over. … It’s just getting started, and in the end, we will win.”