Former President Trump addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.
“The proud patriots here today are the beating heart of the conservative movement,” Trump said after taking the stage to the stirrings of The Village People’s hit “YMCA”
“You are the loyal defenders of our heritage, culture, our Constitution and our God-given rights. You never stop fighting for America, and I will never ever stop fighting for you.”
Trump was frequently interrupted by raucous applause from the GOP activists who gathered for the CPAC conference in the Hilton Anatole’s Trinity Ballroom in Dallas.
In a nearly two hour address, the former president threw out hefty chunks of red meat, coming out in favor of stop-and-frisk policing and the death penalty for drug dealers — a punishment he said was used in China for such offenses.
The speech also came with the standard denunciations of old foes like Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who he branded an “old broken crow” — and, of course, President Joe Biden.
“You could take the five worst presidents in American history and put them together and they would not have done the damage Joe Biden has done to our country in two years,” he said.
Trump, however, was mum on whether he would seek a rematch with Biden in 2024.
“I ran twice and won twice and I did much better the second time than I did the first. And now we may have to do it again,” was all he offered.
The question of whether or not Trump will seek to reclaim the White House in 2024 has dominated GOP political circles in recent months. The former president — now 76 years old — has publicly teased the possibility with little subtlety.
“I’ve already made that decision,” he told New York Magazine last month, adding that the only decision left for him was whether he would announce something before or after the midterm elections.
Party grandees privately hope he holds off until after November so as not to jeopardize GOP candidates in the midterm elections, but generally accept they have no power to influence his timing.
Trump handily won the CPAC straw poll suggesting enthusiasm among base Republican voters has not wanted despite his social media ban, two impeachments, and an ongoing probe about his actions during the Jan. 6 riots.