MIt wouldn’t have happened to him – that’s the line Donald Trump has taken with regard to the Ukraine war for the time being. While last week he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as “brilliant”, Trump now echoed the global praise of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
At the right-wing conservative “Political Action Conference” (CPAC) in Orlando, he described Selenskyj as courageous and indicated that the Russian attack could have been prevented with him as president. After all, the problem isn’t that Putin is “smart” – which he “naturally” is – but that “our leaders are stupid,” Trump said.
He accused President Joe Biden’s government of being weak. She is not in a position to “defend her own civilization”. The former president also claimed that it would have been “easy” for him to prevent the current situation – after all, his relationship with Putin was good. “He understood me and knew that I didn’t play games,” Trump said. During his tenure, Republicans were accused of being at least open to attempts by Russians to influence him. Trump had also delayed military aid to Ukraine.
Against the “Marxist Agenda” of the Democrats
The four-day CPAC event, which takes place annually, was held in Florida for the second time in a row due to the corona restrictions in the capital Washington. The focus of the conference was not the debate about the war in Ukraine, but the fight against the supposed “radical left”, from which the country had to be “taken back”, as several speakers emphasized. The arguments about anti-racist content in schools, which had occupied the conservatives in recent months under the keyword “Critical Race Theory”, had already made it clear that the “culture war” should become one of the most important campaign topics.
Florida Gov. Ron De Santis and state senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott all made similar stances: from mask-wearing to so-called “gender confusion” to speaking out about racism, they subsumed all grievances under a “Marxist agenda” of the democrats.
De Santis warned of a “woke virus” gripping the country. For him, the event was another opportunity to present himself as a possible successor to Trump – numerous speakers such as the British right Nigel Farage praised the leadership qualities of the host. Alongside well-known Republican speakers such as Rep. Jim Jordan, Senator Josh Hawley, and writer JD Vance, a former Democratic presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, a former Hawaii representative, now feels more at ease with the right, calling the government a “secular theocracy “.
Lamentations at the supposed chaos
Trump, too, kept coming back to the lamentations that observers often refer to as “white grievances” (white grievances) and painted a picture of the country that had been plunged into chaos by the Biden presidency – after he, Trump, put it on a good note brought away. The Democrat has “transformed calm into chaos, competence into incompetence, stability into anarchy and security into catastrophe”. Trump called out to his jubilant supporters: “The socialists, globalists, marxists and communists who are attacking our civilization have no idea what sleeping giant they have awakened.”
He also seemed to hint at a run for the presidency again in 2024, saying his “movement” is getting stronger by the day. The 75-year-old Trump also announced: “We’ve done it twice and we will do it again.” We will do it a third time.” Many observers took this as Trump’s call for a third election campaign for himself after the supposedly “stolen” 2020 election. The fans answered his hints with the chant “Four more years!”
“Everyone will be very happy”
Trump also promised again to build the wall on the border with Mexico “quickly”. Maggie Haberman, a journalist at the New York Times newspaper, wrote on Twitter that at a reception on the sidelines of the conference, when asked if he would run again, Trump said: “Everyone will be very happy.” When discussing the possible selection of a vice president, he said, alluding to his former “running mate” Mike Pence: “I know who you don’t want as your vice president.” On Sunday, the organizers of the CPAC will announce the results of an annual participant survey give – Trump is expected to be the favorite again for the 2024 nomination. Last year it was 70 percent, Ron De Santis 21 percent.
In Orlando, Trump praised several Republicans who had caused criticism with appearances at another event. Right-wing MPs Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona attended a parallel conference called the America First Political Action Conference organized by right-wing nationalist Nick Fuentes. Fuentes caused a stir during his speech when he complained that Putin was now being compared to Adolf Hitler, but they said it was “not good”. A few Republicans took offense at this and at the participation of their own politicians. Trump critic Liz Cheney, Wyoming MP, called the event racist, anti-Semitic and “pro-Putin.” Trump defended Greene, who just likes to “speak her mind clearly”.