Former President Donald J. Trump gave his first public speech in nearly four months last night at Greenville, North Carolina’s annual state Republican Party convention, where he spoke on the future of the GOP and endorsed U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., for Senate.
Trump opened his remarks with a hit on President Joe Biden and “the socialist Democrats” who he dubbed “the most radical left-wing administration in history.”
The former president also addressed “America’s doctor”, Dr. Fauci who has been under fire this past week after many of his emails were released through Freedom of Information Act Requests, showing that his private advice on the virus very much contradicted his public rhetoric.
Trump hammered Fauci for his guidance against “clos[ing] our borders to China or Europe,” and how he backtracked from his “powerful” guidance on “no masks”. The former president was criticized for his decision to close the border, which was at odds with Fauci’s advice, but he said the move saved “hundreds of thousands of lives.”
He added that Fauci then “went into masks and then he became a radical masker.”
Touching on the origins of the coronavirus, Trump said Fauci has “never been more wrong than when he denied the virus and where it came from.”
He highlighted the Biden family’s longstanding relationship with China saying the current administration “is very timid and frankly corrupt when you look at all the money they’ve been given as a family by China. And instead of holding China accountable, the Biden administration shut down the US government’s investigation into the origins of the virus shortly after taking office. What’s going on?”
Trump called on China to pay a minimum of $10 trillion in “reparations” to the all nations for coronavirus related damages, as well as a 100% tariff on Chinese goods.
“We should all declare within one unified voice that China must pay. They must pay. The United States should immediately take steps to phase in a firm 100% tariff on all goods made in China. You saw what was happening with our tariffs. In fact, the Democrats were fighting the tariffs, ‘Oh, we don’t…’ Well, he hasn’t taken those tariffs off. He doesn’t want to. Billions and billions of dollars. 25% tariffs on China. Billions and billions of dollars pouring in.”
Speaking to a receptive crowd, Trump reiterated his concerns for the results of the 2020 election and election integrity, concerns that got him banned from Big Tech platforms like Facebook.
Just this week, Facebook announced their formal decision to ban Trump from the platform for two years. Trump responded that he is not much interested in a return to Facebook.
While Trump is looking forward to 2024, 2022 remains top of mind.
“The survival of America depends upon our ability to elect Republicans at every level, starting with the midterms next year”, he said.
He took the time to highlight some of the bigger blunders of the Biden administration so far including the crisis at the southern border, the economy and its uncertain outlook, and Biden’s foreign policy record saying, “our country is being destroyed before our very own eyes.”
The former President continued, “America’s being demeaned and humiliated on the world stage, our freedom is being overtaken by toxic cancel culture.”
As for 2024, Trump remained coy on a potential run, “I’ll make a decision in the not too distant future, maybe sooner than people think. And I think they’re going to be very happy.”
If Trump does announce, it is unclear whether or not Pence will be on the ticket.
“Mike and I have a good relationship, we continue to have a good relationship but it’s too early to be discussing running mates certainly,” Trump said.
He and Pence have, at times, been openly critical of one another following the Capitol riot on January 6th, leaving many to speculate that a Trump 2024 run would leave Pence off the ticket.