- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 26, 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump promised to return the nation to the “great again” status achieved during his administration, all but formally announcing a third White House bid Saturday night before a raucous crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Mr. Trump, who is seriously weighing a 2024 presidential campaign but has not specifically announced his plans, took another step toward official presidential candidacy, ripping the Biden administration for policies that have hurt the nation and led to instability across the globe, culminating with the Russian invasion of Ukraine this week.

He suggested to the CPAC crowd that he would run against President Biden in 2024 and reverse all the policies he said have hurt America.

“We did it twice, and we’ll do it again,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re going to be doing it again — a third time.”

Mr. Trump remains the dominant potential 2024 candidate among party conservatives, and he delivered a nearly 90-minute keynote address before a sold-out, enthusiastic CPAC crowd.

Mr. Biden’s domestic policy has caused inflation and high energy prices, while his foreign policy enabled the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Trump said.

SEE ALSO: Trump slams Supreme Court for being too afraid of Democrats

“With Biden you get a war in Europe and a war on American energy. With Republicans, you get energy independence and energy dominance,” Mr. Trump said.

Russia rolled into Ukraine, Mr. Trump said, because Mr. Biden is a weak president.

“You have to portray a strength to the outside world, otherwise they are going to walk all over you and that’s what is happening right now,” Mr. Trump said.

He condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it “an atrocity that should never have been allowed to occur,” and said his administration sent Javelin missiles to Ukraine and avoided a conflict with Russia.

Mr. Trump‘s speech outlined his second-term agenda. He promised a quick return to the pre-Biden era, pledging to end police defunding policies, restore voter ID laws and end “cancel culture.”

The former president promised the crowd, “We can build it back again quickly and even better than before.”

SEE ALSO: Trump condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine as an ‘atrocity,’ blames Biden

Mr. Trump’s lengthy address lambasted the Biden administration on rising crime and “woke left-wing racism.” He pledged to ban federal funding of schools that teach critical race theory and promised to defend the rights of parents in the public education system.

He said if the GOP wins back the majority in 2022, it should launch a special committee to investigate Big Tech over the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, and the $417 million spent by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to influence local elections.

Mr. Trump continues to argue the 2020 election was skewed toward Mr. Biden by election irregularities and voter fraud, and he called for an official investigation. 

“We need a full accounting of all of the illegitimate turnout efforts, illegal dropboxes and ballot harvesting that’s taken place,” Mr. Trump said.

The integrity of the 2022 and 2024 elections will be in question, he warned, unless the 2020 presidential election is fully investigated.

The former president pledged to finish the southern border wall “very quickly, in a matter of weeks.”

Mr. Trump called for new reforms that would block expanding the Supreme Court, which some Democrats support, but said he’s been disappointed in how the high court has ruled and suggested perhaps the GOP should add seats.

“They are behaving not the way we think is appropriate for our country, but I don’t think we’ll do it,” he said. 

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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