Former President Donald Trump during a keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas Sunday vowed to “secure our borders, stop left-wing cancel culture, restore fair elections,” and “make America great again.”
“Joe Biden has brought this country to the brink of ruin,” Trump told a packed crowd at the three-day CPAC event.
“Even right here in Texas. We are the epicenter of a border and migration crisis unlike anything anyone has ever seen before in the history of our country. At the same time, they have totally obliterated your energy industry – I told you. Under my administration, we achieved a historic reduction in illegal immigration. … We ended the horrible catch and release where we catch a criminal and release him into our country. We actually said, ‘Nope, it’s called stay in Mexico.’
“It worked very well, and it had the support of Mexico. … We reduced drugs pouring across our border by the highest percentage ever in the history of our country. ... We shut down the migrant caravans. We dealt a crippling blow to MS-13. We deported criminal aliens by the thousands and thousands and we built almost 500 miles of border wall."
Biden's border crisis, he said, "is helping drive in an unprecedented crime wave."
"The bloodshed and violence in these cities is reaching epidemic proportions," he said. "Homicides are up 42% in Los Angeles, 37% in Philadelphia, 68% in Atlanta and over 500% in Portland over this time last year. ... In New York City, crime is out of control. It's at record levels with nobody being prosecuted except, of course, innocent Republicans are being prosecuted," a likely reference to New York prosecutors charging the Trump Organization of running a 15-year scheme to help its executives evade taxes by compensating them with fringe benefits that were hidden from the authorities.
Trump also hit Democrats for their stances on law enforcement, gun rights, critical race theory and election laws.
"They are hard at work to abolish the First Amendment as well," he said.
"Probably all amendments, when you get right down to it. Why not?" he said. "The radical left and big tech's attack on free speech is unlawful, it's unconstitutional, and it is completely un-American. To protect the constitutional rights and liberty's of every citizen, this week I filed a major class action. We are suing Facebook, Twitter and Google."
Trump earlier this week announced class-action lawsuits against the tech giants over their "unlawful" censorship of him and other conservatives, after the social media giants banned him from posting in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The actions are being supported by the America First Policy Institute, headed by former Trump officials Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins, who introduced Trump at the announcement. Axios first reported AFPI's involvement.
The speech at the CPAC event was Trump’s second address to the group since he left office.
"We celebrate our rich heritage and national traditions. We honor George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and all of our national heroes," Trump said. "And of course, we always respect our great American flag.
"We believe in patriotic education for our children, and we strongly oppose the radical indoctrination of America's youth. We are committed to defending innocent life and to proudly upholding the Judeo-Cristian values of our nation's founders."
"Our glorious American inheritance was passed down to us by generations of American patriots who gave everything they had, their sweat, their blood, and even their way of lives to build America into the greatest nation in the history of the world," Trump said, "and we are not going to let it be taken away from us by a small group of radical left Marxist maniacs."
He also touched on his sour relationship with former attorney general William Barr, telling the crowd he was "disappointed" that his AG wasn't able to "hold anyone accountable for the countless abuses of power by the Democrats."
"He didn't hold the corrupt officials who spied on our campaign, remember? I said they're spying on our campaign. Boy, that was, like, a lightning rod went off. Not the authors of the phony dossier. They weren't held responsible. Not the women who slandered and lied and defamed Brett Kavanaugh," Trump said.
Barr in a book excerpt released earlier this week said he suspected Trump's claims of widespread election fraud were "all bulls***," but that he launched unofficial inquiries into some of them to appease his boss.
Hours before his speech, the former president rejected “Fake News Media” narratives attempting to disparage him and impact the “rigged election.”
"The Fake News Media continuously likes stating that I lost the 'suburbs.' How would this be possible when I was the one that stopped the low-income housing agenda of Obama/Biden, already enacted, from happening there,” he said in a statement issued by his Save America PAC. “The suburbs would have been destroyed — but they continuously fail to mention that I got 12 million more votes than I did in 2016, a record for a sitting president along with the 75 million votes, also a record. So how did that happen and how come I 'lost'? This is just more Fake News. And remember, they can say all of this, including the suburbs nonsense, because we had a rigged election!"
The statement seemed to be in response to a New York Times story published Saturday that suggested the suburbs “soured” on the former president in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump also said his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was only now being appreciated.
"For all of those finally realizing what a great job we did with respect to the pandemic, including rapidly filling the cupboards that were left 'bare' by the previous administration, in both the federal government and states, please also remember that it was the Trump administration that produced the vaccine in less than 9 months — many years ahead of anticipated schedule,” he said.
"Biden and his group just used our plan of distribution, which had started long before he took office. Without the vaccine, the entire world would have ended up like it was in 1917, the Spanish Flu, where as many as 100 million people died. While we get no credit for this from the Fake News Media, the people know — that's why I got 75 million votes!"
Trump also noted the “dishonest and corrupt” media attempted to discredit him and “demean” his administration.
"Remember when the Fake News Media would blast me about how well Seoul, South Korea was doing with the pandemic? Well now, sadly, Seoul is riddled with the China virus almost beyond what other countries had to go through,” he said of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “They are having a terrible time of it. The media also used India as another country doing really well — we all know how that ended.
"They talked about these two countries in order to demean my administration, which has now been proven to have done an incredible job. I only bring this up to show how dishonest and corrupt the Fake News Media is!"
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