AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Following a banner week for Donald Trump’s endorsed congressional and state-level candidates in Arizona, Michigan, and Missouri, the 45th President returned to a hero’s welcome at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, where he once again delivered the event’s keynote address.
In a nearly two-hour speech, Trump railed against the failures of the Biden administration, urged conservatives not to settle into a state of complacency going into the midterm elections, and outlined a robust set of policies for the next Congress and Republican president—which could very well be Trump himself.
“America is on the edge of an abyss—and our movement is the only force on Earth that can save it,” Trump said. “What we do in the next few months and the next few years will determine whether American civilization will collapse or fail or whether it will triumph and thrive frankly like never before. This is no time for complacency.” He then went on to urge Republican candidates to “run aggressive, unrelenting, and boldly populist” campaigns and to make the upcoming midterm elections “a national referendum on the horrendous catastrophes radical Democrats have inflicted in our country.”
In his remarks, Trump offered a novel set of concrete policy measures Republicans should take up as soon as they regain power in Washington. Among his most notable proposals was the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education—which elicited roaring applause from the audience—in response to the Biden administration’s advocacy of Critical Race Theory and gender ideology in K-12 schools. “Across the country, we need to implement strict prohibitions on teaching inappropriate racial, sexual and political material to American schoolchildren in any form whatsoever,” he said. “And if federal bureaucrats are going to push this radicalism, we should abolish the Department of Education.”
But the Department of Education was far from Trump’s only target in his wide-ranging remarks. Following the release of an Axios report last month—which detailed the former president’s plans to fire thousands of federal bureaucrats and reshape the administrative state should he be inaugurated to a second term as president in January 2025—Trump reprised his call to root out Washington corruption. “Another key priority for the next Congress and the next president will be to drain the swamp once and for all,” he said. “To remove rogue bureaucrats and root out the deep state, Congress should pass groundbreaking reforms empowering the president to ensure that any federal employee who is corrupt, incompetent, or unnecessary for the job can be told, ‘You’re fired.’”
Trump also took a moment to hone in on the nation’s soaring inner-city crime rates: “The streets of our Democrat-run cities are drenched with the blood of innocent victims,” he said. “Gun battles rage between bloodthirsty street gangs. Bullets tear into crowds at random, killing wonderful, beautiful little children that never even had a chance. Carjackers lay in wait like predators hunting their prey.” He also repeated his call to execute convicted drug traffickers.
Later in the speech, Trump took aim at the Biden border crisis, urging the next Republican Congress to “stop the invasion” along the southern border. “Never forget every death at the hands of a criminal, illegal alien is entirely preventable. This is all preventable stuff,” he said. “Republicans in Congress must make clear that on their watch, not a single penny of taxpayer money will go to funding Joe Biden’s open-border agenda.”
Just prior to Trump’s arrival in Dallas on Saturday, CPAC organizers released the results of their famous straw poll for the GOP presidential nomination, which Trump won overwhelmingly. Winning 69 percent of the vote—up 10 percent from the previous CPAC in February—the former president’s standing in the GOP is as strong as ever.
“I’ve said the last couple CPACs, I don’t think it can go any higher,” said Jim McLaughlin, who helps conduct the annual straw poll. “Matter of fact, what’s happening is he’s more popular than ever.” To the chagrin of the media, the Democratic Party, and “Never Trump” Republicans, by the time the next CPAC rolls around in February 2023, Trump could very well return as a declared candidate for president with a new Republican majority in Congress. But whether or not Trump launches a third campaign for the White House in 2024, it is becoming increasingly clear that—despite the mainstream media’s best efforts—Trump’s status as the most influential figure in conservative politics is not going anywhere anytime soon.
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