“Remember,” Trump told the crowd after repeating numerous untruths about widespread electoral fraud, “I’m not the one trying to undermine American democracy, I’m the one trying to save it.”
Trump’s speech on Saturday was the first stop on a summer tour that is expected to include campaign-style rallies, high dollar fundraisers and a general spike in his public appearances after months of quietly planning the next chapter of his political career with aides and longtime advisors. It was also an important test of his ability to be an instrumental replacement for the Republicans as the party approaches a grueling mid-term cycle.
While Trump insists he continues to strive to help the GOP regain control of the House and Senate next fall, Trump recently ignored advice from aid workers and allies to keep his message moving for the future.
Several people in his orbit have asked him to write a new dull speech – one that will draw voters’ attention to Republican political initiatives and what the party perceives as Biden’s failures – rather than recycle debunked claims about the 2020 elections or one Platform to give conspiracy theories on electoral fraud. As previously reported by CNN, its allies fear the latter approach could repel certain voters, which could increase or break Republicans ‘chances of ending Democrats’ control of Congress in 2022.
But Trump’s Greenville appearance may have set back those efforts.
During Saturday night’s sinuous remarks, Trump abruptly jumped from criticisms of Biden and the Democrats in Congress to nostalgic reflections on his tenure – nodding in between to the GOP’s legislative agenda, except on culture war issues that lawmakers have used to keep the conservative base of the Political party.
“The Biden administration is driving the toxic theory of the critical races … into our nation’s schools,” claimed Trump during a lengthy riff against his successor. “Joe Biden and the Socialist Democrats are the most radical Democrats in our nation’s history.”
But some Democrats took up the former president’s resurrection, hinting that Republicans will suffer in the election from continuing to embrace Trump.
“More than 400,000 dead Americans, millions of lost jobs and recklessly dangerous rhetoric are apparently insufficient for Republicans to break with a losing president who cost them the White House, Senate and House of Representatives,” said Ammar Moussa, director for quick response from the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement to CNN.
While most of his remarks met with an otherwise muted reaction from the crowd, he received a standing ovation when he suggested that China pay the United States $ 10 trillion in Covid-19 reparations and encouraged other countries to owe their debt to the Chinese Government until then ignore reparations to be paid.
“It is time America and the world demand reparations and accountability from the Chinese Communist Party. We should all declare with one voice that China has to pay – they have to pay, “said Trump.
As the crowd waited for the former president, loud rock and pop music – including staples from Trump’s own campaign playlist – boomed more like a political rally than an exclusive dinner. Among the more conservatively dressed delegates who had gathered in the hall, some spectators stood out who wore Uncle Sam hats and shirts with the American flag.
The anticipation grew until Whatley briefly introduced Trump and described him to Republicans as “our President” just before he took the podium. Almost the entire time of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” Trump waved and clapped and pointed at the excited crowd – and behaved similarly to the election campaign in 2016 and later in 2020.
But despite the energy at the beginning, the former president was relatively cautious in most of his remarks – especially after his surprising support from Budd. As he meandered through the policy areas where he claimed the Biden administration was failing the Americans – and where he felt his own government was successful – the audience remained politely engaged but barely loud. There was only superficial applause when he extolled the success of Operation Warp Speed in developing a Covid-19 vaccine in record time or hyped his accomplishments in foreign policy.
His energy shift seemed to kick-start a listless audience, many of whom had glanced at their phones or yawned as Trump’s speech crept past the hour mark.
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