Former US President Donald Trump has mentioned he has no plans to kind a brand new political occasion, promising as a substitute to unite a Republican Occasion that has splintered after his supporters overran america Capitol in a deadly riot.
In his first main speech since he left the White Home final month, Trump mentioned the GOP is “going to unite and be stronger than ever earlier than”.
“I’m not beginning a brand new occasion. That was faux information,” he instructed the gang on the Conservative Political Motion Convention (CPAC) on Sunday afternoon.
“We can be united and robust like by no means earlier than. We are going to save and strengthen America and we’ll struggle the onslaught of radicalism, socialism and certainly, all of it results in communism,” mentioned Trump, who spent a lot of his speech hitting out at US President Joe Biden.
Trump repeated his false claims the November presidential election was stolen from him and likewise hinted at one other attainable presidential run.
“They simply misplaced the White Home,” Trump mentioned. “However who is aware of, who is aware of, I’ll even determine to beat them for a 3rd time.”
His supporters have dominated this 12 months’s convention, held in Florida as a result of state’s free restrictions on gatherings through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because the nation’s largest annual gathering of Republicans and conservatives, CPAC sometimes signifies the course of the Republican Occasion and its supporters.
Whereas previous conferences have served as a discussion board for debate between a broad coalition of US conservatives, attendees of this 12 months’s assembly devoted the weekend to expressing their dedication to Trump and affirming his persevering with dominance of the occasion.
The occasion comes as deep divides have emerged inside the Republican Occasion after the Capitol rebellion on January 6 and weeks of false claims by Trump and his supporters that the election was marred by widespread voter fraud.
‘At battle with itself’
Al Jazeera’s John Hendren, reporting from Orlando on Sunday, mentioned the convention has introduced collectively “the pro-Trump facet of the Republican Occasion” – the occasion, he mentioned, is at the moment “at battle with itself”.
Professional-Trump Republicans defended Trump amid accusations he incited the mob of his supporters that overran the Capitol constructing, whereas others publicly criticised him and a few even voted for his impeachment.
Republican legislators who’ve been important of Trump, together with Congresswoman Liz Cheney and former Senate majority chief Mitch McConnell, weren’t welcome on the convention, Hendren mentioned.
“That is his effort to regulate that occasion,” Hendren reported.
Trump supporters travelled from throughout the nation to see the previous president’s first remarks since he left workplace in January.
Hats, shirts and different pro-Trump paraphernalia had been on show on the convention, the place attendees took images alongside a gold statue of the previous president.
Vickie Froehlich, who served as a delegate on the Republican Nationwide Conference when Trump was first nominated in 2016, got here to CPAC from Minneapolis, Minnesota. If Republicans abandon Trump, she mentioned, “it could be an enormous mistake”.
“I feel he has been nice for our nation. He’s extremely popular nonetheless,” Froehlich instructed Al Jazeera.
Audio system who took the stage through the weekend, together with Senators Rick Scott of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, introduced help for persevering with Trump’s political mission.
In panel discussions, legislators and activists additionally argued in opposition to the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election outcomes and warned of left-wing conspiracies to silence conservative speech.
“I’m not backing down,” mentioned Hawley, one of many Republican senators who voted to overturn the outcomes of the US election, which earned him an prolonged standing ovation on the convention. “Not an opportunity! Not an opportunity!”
Chris Moody contributed to this report from Orlando, Florida