Trump mocks Ron DeSantis during his CPAC speech, vowing’retribution’ for his enemies

Donald Trump's CPAC speech took thinly veiled shots at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and promised a "final battle" for America.

NATIONAL HARBOR MD. — Donald Trump appeared to be a fan of Gov. Ron DeSantis had Ron on Saturday night during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The former president addressed a crowd of loyal fans at the annual conservative gathering and called out Republicans who in the past have supported cuts to entitlement programs.

Trump stated in his speech that he was not going to give up on people who want to destroy our great Social Security System. “Even some members of our own party.”

Trump added, then coyly, “I wonder who that might have been.”

The Florida governor was not mentioned by him. However, DeSantis is a former member in Congress and made headlines recently for his decision to abandon past votes comments and favor raising the retirement age and privatizing Social Security, Medicare. Trump’s subtle contrast comes at a time when the Republicans seem to be on a collision course in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries. According to polls, DeSantis is Trump’s strongest possible competitor for the nomination.

In his almost two-hour-long speech, Trump also called on Republicans to once again abandon the George W. Bush-era conservatism which preceded his rise to politics. This was a rebuke to a GOP establishment, which has indicated interest in moving forward from Trump.

Trump claimed that the party was run by “freaks and fools” before he arrived.

I am your warrior. I am your justice. For those who have been wronged or betrayed, I am your justice.

Donald Trump, Former President

Trump declared, “We are not going back to the partyof Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush.” Trump also mentioned a former House speaker, Bush’s architect and younger brother who lost to Trump in 2016’s primaries.

These callbacks to Bush relatives are similar to 2016 when Trump highlighted the lack of intelligence that preceded the invasion of Iraq. They also mocked Jeb Bush as “low energy” and used them as a veiled arrow in DeSantis direction. Jeb Bush is a former governor of Florida and has praisedDeSantis in interviews .

Trump reiterated his doubts about how states conduct elections, even though he has not provided any proof. He also endorsed mail-in voting, which he has been strongly critical of in the past to the dismay and surprise of other Republicans.

Trump stated that all Republican governors should immediately apply for paper ballots, one day voting, and voter ID.

He said, “But until that time comes,” and added that “Republicans have to compete using all lawful means of winning.” This means flooding the left with early, mail-in and Election Day ballots. Have to do it. It is time to shift our mindset.”

CPAC this year was supportive of Trump. The halls were lined with supporters in Trump or MAGA gear. DeSantis was defeated by Trump’s former president in the annual straw poll. He won easily. Given the absence of DeSantis, and other potential 2024 hopefuls, it was not surprising that he won. This event was once a larger-tent venue for conservative donors and activists. It has been rebranded around Trump’s personality-driven politics, of antagonism, and grievances.

Instead, DeSantis attended a private donor retreat for Club for Growth. This conservative organization has distanced themselves from Trump and prioritised trips to Texas to speak with GOP groups.

Trump addressed reporters prior to his CPAC speech and deflected any questions about DeSantis’ possible candidacy by talking up the record of his presidency.

Trump stated, “I’ve always had a great relationship with him,” when asked by NBC News if he would consider DeSantis to be his running mate for vice-president. “But it’s too early to discuss.”

Trump’s speech contained broad and vague promises if elected in 2024. Some of these were rooted in culture wars over school curriculum and transgender rights, which DeSantis fought in Florida. Trump demanded the “direct election” of school principals and said that parents should be able to fire them. He was heavy on the name-calling.

He said, at one time, “Our enemies” that “are lunatics or maniacs.”

Trump also promised political revenge on those enemies.

He said, “If you put my back in White House,” “In 2016, you declared that I was your voice. Today I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. For those who have been wronged or betrayed, I am your justice.”

March 4, 2023 02/14

Trump’s CPAC speech painted, as many others he gave during his campaign, a grim picture of America on the brink.

“This is the last battle. They know it. It is something I am aware of. It is obvious. Trump stated that everyone knows this. “Either they lose or we win. We lose a country if they win.”

Trump repeatedly stated that the country is ” on the brink” of World War III and argued that he would bring it back to peace, prosperity and security.

Trump spent a lot of time lamenting the government’s numerous investigations into him, starting with the classified documents case and ending with the investigation into Trump’s actions surrounding the 2020 election, before a grand jury in Fulton County. Trump swore at the district attorney in that jurisdiction, and the grand juror foreperson who discussed the proceedings in recent interviews.

Trump stated, “It’s completely out of control.” Trump said that the district attorney “has a Kangaroo Court focused on a perfect telephone call that I made, while her jury foreman (a rather strange young woman) is going around doing media interviews to explain exactly what’s happening.”

Trump’s speech concluded a four-day conference where he and his closest friends were the most popular. His few potential rivals, including Nikki Haley, who was his former United Nations Ambassador, were met with hostile heckling and indifference.

Trump fandom was able to thrive in the absence of his speech. Trump supporters were seen chanting “Trump!” outside the main hall. Trump! Trump!” and singing the national anthem. The speeches that preceded Trump’s included dozens of MAGA leaders, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Donald Trump Jr. and Kari lake, an outspoken election denier who lost her bid to become Arizona governor last year.

“I came here to support Trump. He should have the chance to finish his work,” Melissa Elliott of Richmond, Va., said.

She said that CPAC was “one the few places where you can meet like-minded people in one place.”

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