Former president donald trump crowned himself king of the GOP at CPAC on Saturday, delivering a speech to a large crowd that featured all the makings of the man keen to take over the White House

“We did it twice. And we’re going to do it again,” Trump told a roaring crowd inside the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando.

Trump is about 9 years old0-a minute-long speech spanned a slew of hot topics, dividing the time between cultural and political issues almost sure to enliven the GOP base.

He castigated the president Joe Biden, decrying him as a weak and ineffective leader. He lamented the southern border crisis, lambasted “fake news” media and decried “radical” Democrats. He also contested the result of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump maintains that voter fraud cost him the election against Biden, a claim supported by little or no evidence. He called the election the “crime of the century”.

“We did it,” Trump added. “The election was rigged.

Now 75, Trump took the stage and was greeted for a long time by his supporters. “Proud to be an American” played over loudspeakers as fans chanted “USA,” among other rallying cries.

Several Florida lawmakers attended the event, including Republican representatives. Antoine Sabatini, Webster Barnabas and Jackie Toledo, among others. CPAC hosts a reception for state lawmakers after the event.

Other attendees included the Republican senator. Rick Scott of Florida, Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida, Madison Cawthorne of North Carolina and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia. CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference – is a four-day gathering of Conservative leaders, figures and supporters in Orlando.

Prior to the event, GOP prognosticators viewed Trump and DeSantis as top attractions at CPAC, a place where candidates can gauge their presidential appeal among supporters.

But while DeSantis supporters have shown strength, Trump’s appeal among GOP voters remains strong. CPAC vendors filled tables with Trump memorabilia, leaving little room for trinkets touting the Florida governor. The roads outside the site were mostly lined with pro-Trump flags, signs and collectibles.

“Trump sells,” said John Mintona self-proclaimed “America First” vendor selling Trump merchandise near the hotel.

CPAC will release a mock poll of attendees on Sunday, but Trump is expected to come out on top again this year, with DeSantis as the second pick.

“We’re far from done,” Trump said as supporters cheered “four more years.”

Unlike DeSantis’ CPAC speech, Trump leaned into foreign affairs. He criticized Biden’s handling of Afghanistan and explained Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s rise as a superpower.

Trump called the invasion an “outrage” and an “atrocity.” He vowed to pray for Ukrainians, saying Russian dictator Vladimir Poutine would have left the small nation alone if he were still in office. DeSantis, a presidential candidate, has yet to speak on the matter.

“I’m the only president in the 21st century under whose watch Russia hasn’t invaded another country,” Trump said.

Notably, DeSantis did not appear at Trump’s speech, an absence amplified when coupled with the fact that his daily schedule showed no other scheduled events.

Also, DeSantis didn’t mention Trump in his speech and Trump left DeSantis out of his.

While the media and forecasters predict an imminent clash between the two, other conservative leaders believe otherwise.

‘I had no idea they were racing against each other,’ the Fox News host and conservative radio giant said Marc Levin joked at Florida Politics before the speech when asked about a possible confrontation. “As long as we get a curator.”

National Conservative activist Scott Pressler, meanwhile, thinks DeSantis won’t challenge Trump and could instead cast himself as a successor. CPAC recognized Pressler’s voter registration efforts on stage Saturday.

“DeSantis is a smart man,” Pressler said when asked about the speculation. “He wouldn’t run against the President of the United States.”


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