Eighteen months after leaving the White House, former US president Donald Trump reappeared in Washington on Tuesday claiming to be the winner of the last elections and leaving the door open to the possibility of running again in 2024. He did so in an hour and a half speech before the conservative think tank America First Policy Institute, made up of his allies and former members of his Administration with the aim of promoting ideas for the agenda of a possible second term.
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“I applied for the first time and I won. Then I applied a second time and it went much better. I had many millions more votes. Maybe we have to do it again, ”he said, assuring that the current situation in the country, with uncontrolled crime levels, in his opinion, makes it necessary for the Republicans to return to power.
While protesters against him gathered at the gates of that institute, inside the former president remained reluctant to recognize Joe Biden’s victory, perpetuating doubts dismissed by the Supreme Court and that on January 6, 2021 led to his supporters to storm the Capitol when the electoral results were being certified.
“If I give up my beliefs, if I agree to stay silent and at home, it would be easy. The persecution of Donald Trump would stop immediately, but I can’t do it because I love our country and its people, “he said. The former leader insisted that he sacrifices himself for the United States: “Doing it is an honor, because if I don’t, our nation is condemned to be another Venezuela or another Soviet Union. We are headed for that.”
His portrait of the current situation in the US under Biden was apocalyptic. “Our country has been brought to its knees, literally to its knees. (…) Just two years ago we had a booming economy the likes of which had never been seen before, the strongest and most secure border in US history, energy independence and historically low gas prices.”
For this reason, he demanded a strong hand and strong investments in the forces of order. The imposition of the death penalty for drug traffickers, the reinforcement of the border or the increase in sentences for those who violate immigration laws increased his plans to recover security.
Trump, for whom the United States “is going to hell”, had left the US capital on January 20, 2021, hours before Biden took office. The Republican then went to his vacation residence Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and was the first outgoing president not to attend the investiture of his successor.
His return to Washington, like everything around him, was surrounded by controversy. While there are Republicans who question his supremacy in the party, the formal announcement of his possible candidacy for the 2024 presidential elections is for others only a matter of time.
“I have already made the decision,” he said this month in the nyc magazinewhere he was convinced that if he tried to repeat his mandate he would succeed, but he left his plans under calculated ambiguity: “I would say that the big decision now is whether it will be sooner or later”.
His reappearance coincides with a time when new revelations from the House of Representatives committee investigating the assault on Capitol Hill have reproached Trump for deliberate passivity.
Not only did he take three and a half hours to ask the mob to return to their homes, but the next day he refused to discredit the assailants and publicly request the Department of Justice that the offenders be prosecuted.
This first round of questioning by the committee, which began a month ago, ended last Thursday and will continue in September with new witnesses, but with its first conclusions it has already achieved that the current president has disapproved of his behavior that day: “He lacked the courage to act” Biden said on Monday.
Now, with his speech today, Trump gains strength before his acolytes from that conservative institute: “We exist because we believe that the best days of our nation are yet to come, that the battle to save it is the noblest fight that exists and that we will win” , point out that thinktank in his web page.
Not far from that summit, which ended with that speech, whoever was his vice president, Mike Pence, seen as his potential competitor in any possible primaries, also marked his territory with an invitation to turn the page: “It is essential that in a moment in which so many families are having a hard time, let us not fall into the temptation of looking back”, he warned.