The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) wrapped on Sunday following an anticipated speech from former President Trump.
Here are five key moments all week at CPAC.
Trump rips into Biden during CPAC speech
Trump spoke at CPAC on Sunday, marking his first major speech since leaving office. He spoke to a raucous pro-Trump crowd at an event where his influence was felt throughout.
Trump tore into President Biden on issues ranging from the brewing crisis at the border to foreign policy as well as the reopening of schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history,” Trump said, calling the new administration “anti-jobs, anti-families, anti-border, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science.”
He focused predominantly on the escalating border crisis, which he returned to frequently as he ripped into Biden’s rollbacks of a number of Trump-era policies – which has in turn seen a surge in migrants at the border.
“It took the new administration only a few weeks to turn this unprecedented accomplishment into a self-inflicted humanitarian and national security disaster,” he said. “In one short month, we have gone from America First to America Last.”
Trump declares he would not start a new political party
Trump on Sunday declared he would not start a new political party, after speculation last month that he might.
“We’re not starting new parties. You know — they kept saying, ‘He’s going to start a brand new party,'” Trump said. “We have the Republican Party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”
The speculation that Trump was considering starting a new party began in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. On Sunday, Trump declared that he is committed to the GOP.
“I am not starting a new party,” Trump said. “That was fake news. Fake news, no. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote so that you can never win. No, we’re not interested in that.”
Trump’s speech was preceded by the CPAC straw poll, which polled attendees about who they would like to see on the ballot. Attendees comfortably chose Trump for a 2024 run, while voting for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a separate poll if Trump did not throw his hat in the ring.
“For the next four years, the brave Republicans in this room will be at the heart of the effort to oppose the radical Democrats, the fake news media, and their toxic cancel culture,” Trump continued. “And I want you to know that I am going to continue to fight right by your side.”
Matt Gaetz criticizes Andrew Cuomo, Liz Cheney
Rep. Matt Gaetz criticized Rep. Liz Cheney — the most prominent GOP member of the House to vote to impeach Trump — during the first full day at CPAC.
“Speaking of people who should lose primaries, if Liz Cheney were on this stage today she’d get booed off of it. The leadership of our party is not found in Washington, D.C.,” Gaetz told the crowd.
He also pointed to the media’s glowing treatment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo throughout much of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now, the fake news media and their allies in Silicon Valley made Governor Cuomo out to be some iconic cross between King David and Tom Brady — What a big lie that turned out to be,” Gaetz remarked.
Gaetz added that former aides to the three-term governor claimed he suggested other staffers engage in “strip poker,” referring to a recent sexual harassment allegation against the governor — which Cuomo denies.
“Meanwhile, they were ‘stripping’ Granny out of the COVID ward at the hospital and tossing her in the nursing home in just enough time to infect everybody and then go back to the hospital so that deaths could be recategorized for politics,” he continued.
Ted Cruz talks Cancun trip, says Republican Party ‘not just the party of country clubs’
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gave a passionate speech during CPAC on Friday, vowing that Trump-style populist Republicans are here to stay.
“The Republican Party is not the party just of the country clubs. The Republican Party is the party of steelworkers and construction workers and pipeline workers and taxi cab drivers and cops and firefighters, and waiters and waitresses and the men and women with callouses on their hands who are working for this country. That is our party and these deplorables are here to stay,” said Cruz.
“Let me tell you this right now: Donald J. Trump ain’t goin’ anywhere,” he continued.
He also made light of his controversial brief trip with his family to Cancun, Mexico, last month as his home state of Texas was pounded by a deadly winter storm that sparked a severe power and water crisis.
McCarthy predicts GOP will take the majority in 2022
“It’s not a chance, we’re going to get the majority back. We’re five seats away,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Saturday during a panel at CPAC.
“I would bet my house… don’t tell my wife but I would bet it,” he said. “This is the smallest majority Democrats have had in 100 years.”
Republicans picked up 12 seats in the 2020 election, and FiveThirtyEight predicted they are “on track” to take back the House in the next election.
“What is so hard about respecting the country you live in, the people, and the Founding principles that make this country so great? As long as we all abide by the rules, which are very simple for the average citizen to comply with. Everyone is equal under the same rules, as long as we all respect that, we can all live in peace. Free from oppression from the Elites in England is why this country was established. Now this country is going back to what it was trying to get away from, 250 years ago. History does repeat itself, if its allowed to.”
“Sen. Ted said it right about what the new Republican party should be – an America First party, “the party (NOT) just of the country clubs” but “the party of steelworkers and construction workers and pipeline workers …. “. But in order to become that party, the Republican party needs to “clean out” those who still want to hang on to the past establishment Republican party and who resist the Republican party becoming what Sen.Cruz outlined. It is time for Republicans in Congress to elect new leadership that reflect the new Republican party, but so far they have not shown the courage to do so. If Republican in Congress will not muster the courage and change its leadership, the party will remain divided and Republican voters will remain frustrated and alienated. This is the time for Republicans in Congress to follow the voters wishes and change the leadership.”
“Trump may or not be on the ballot in 2024, but Trumpism will be. With all of the hyperbole, Trump accomplished more for this Country in 4 years than dems ever have! His ideas and policies will be fought for by the right for many years to come.”
“Sure was uplifting to see a strong, coherent leader speak again. And it was great to hear a positive message about America too. Such a contrast from Biden. It reminds me of comparing Carter with Reagan. The Dems are pretty scared now. Trumps isn’t going anywhere. He has tons of support for his shared goals for America and the American people.”
“2022 and 2024 can be banner GOP years, but it involves much better messaging and outreach. The Black and Hispanic vote are key and the Dem misinformation plan has worked so far. Most Black and Hispanics are GOP – they just haven’t heard why and Dems take them for granted. They are buying their votes now with 1.9T in giveaways, but at some point the light has to go on. A stronger GOP, conservative American values. Stop the Blue smear campaign on us!”
“The republican party will unify and President Trump will be implemental in the 2022 elections. And, another great thing at CPAC, was the former President saying (what I’m sure his advisors told him thousands of times) that he will be staying off Twitter and the like. Vote Republican2022”