One speaker after another at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida embraced former President Donald Trump and his legacy as they invited other Republicans still not on the Trump Train to climb aboard.
That tone was set on day one of the annual conference with a fiery speech by Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who made it clear that the party’s future was not its establishment past.
Florida “is an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering, in many parts of the country, under the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,” DeSantis declared at the Orlando event.
“Florida’s leading on the issues that matter to conservatives. We don’t spout hollow rhetoric, we take decisive action,” he added. “We cannot, we will not go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear.”
The message was clear: Trumpism is the way forward for the GOP, and anyone who disagreed would be left behind.
“Let me tell you right now. Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), said in one of the most cheered lines of all during Friday’s festivities, after noting there are “a whole lot of voices in Washington that want to erase the last four years.”
“They look at Donald J. Trump, and they look at the millions and millions of people inspired, who went to battle fighting alongside President Trump, and they’re terrified,” Cruz said. “And they want him to go away.”
“The Republican Party is not the party just of the country clubs,” Cruz added. “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 calluses on their hands who are working for this country. That is our party, and these deplorables are here to stay.”
“These radical liberals, they want to erase our history,” Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said during his Friday speech. “They want to replace it with their crazy Marxist theories.”
On Saturday, much discussion involving various foreign and domestic policies took place in breakout sessions as speakers lambasted President Joe Biden’s visions on immigration, reentering the Iran deal, climate change, and engagement with China.
“The Biden Administration claims ‘America is back’ — but America didn’t go anywhere,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted before his speech earlier this week. “Quite the opposite. We built enormous coalitions all around the world to secure American freedom. We made America more prosperous and much stronger.”
The Biden Administration claims "America is back” – but America didn’t go anywhere. Quite the opposite. We built enormous coalitions all around the world to secure American freedom.
We made America more prosperous and much stronger.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) February 24, 2021
But the GOP’s vision, at least as it applies to Trumpism, will be laid out by the ex-president himself during his highly anticipated speech Sunday afternoon to close out the event.
The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, gave his supporters a taste of what the 45th president would say during an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Thursday.
“I’m sure we’ll hear about China, I’m sure we’ll hear about Iran, the Paris climate deal,” she told the host, noting that the speed at which Biden is dismantling the former president’s policies and agenda has come as a shock to many Americans.
“You know, so many things have so quickly turned around and really have been incredibly detrimental to the future of America. So, I’m excited to hear from him this weekend. I think it’s going to be a great speech. I know he’s excited to speak to everybody there at CPAC,” she added.
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