ORLANDO, Fla. — 45th President Donald J. Trump delivered the keynote speech on Saturday night at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of influential conservatives with the prospects of a Republican takeover of Congress looking more likely.
Trump’s speech, which went for approximately 90 minutes, hit many familiar themes but was noteworthy for time spent on foreign policy and a potential domestic agenda should he run for president in two years – as he hinted to the crowd would happen.
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling, an outrage, and an atrocity that should have never been allowed to happen. We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine,” said Trump in his remarks. “This would not have happened if I was the president.”
Trump also said that in the 21st century he has been the only president in which Russia has not invaded another country. The crowd roared with “USA” chants for that accomplishment.
The former president also noted that many of the weapons the Ukrainian army is using were authorized during his administration.
“I gave Ukraine the javelins that everyone is talking about and millions of dollars of other military equipment. The Obama administration gave them blankets. Under our leadership the world was a peaceful place because America was strong. We were a smart country, now we’re a stupid country,” he said. Trump also touted the Abraham Accords signed in the fall of 2020 and how his administration was the first in decades not to enter a new war.
“Joe Biden is seen as weak, and I want him to do a great job, but when you have a weak president who is not respected by other nations, you have a very chaotic world and the world hasn’t been this chaotic since World War II,” said Trump.
Trump then said he believed Vladimir Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine after the Biden administration’s performance during the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. Trump called the withdrawal “pathetic” and blamed the administration for the deaths of 13 soldiers and for leaving $85 billion worth of equipment on the ground.
Also during the speech, Trump called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy “brave” for his stand against Russia’s attack.
Also in the speech, Trump strongly hinted at a third run for president in 2024. He opened the speech saying the America First movement had “done it twice, and we will do it again,” saying together they would Make America Great Again in a nod to the his campaign theme from 2016.
Many of the themes Trump hit were stopping cancel culture, finishing the wall on the southern border, and advocating for school choice.
He then accused Democrats of ignoring the massive protests of Canadian truckers and the Canadian government’s response.
“If the radical Democrats want to fight for democracy abroad, they should start with the democracy that is under threat next door in Canada,” said Trump. “The tyranny we have witnessed in recent weeks should shock people around the world. The peaceful movement of truckers and their families protesting for their most basic rights has been violently put down. They’re being hunted down as enemies of their own government.”
“The world is safer when America has a strong president. This coming midterm election is going to be more important than ever before. I’m asking you to vote for candidates who believe in the policies we hold dear. The stakes could not be higher and losing is not an option. We must win in 2022 and 2024,” Trump said at the end of his speech.
It also appeared that Trump sent a final message to the crowd with his exit song. After using the disco hit “YMCA” by the Village People, it was “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave that played Trump out of the conference.