Former US President Donald Trump has mentioned he has no plans to type a brand new political celebration, promising as a substitute to unite a Republican Party that has splintered after his supporters overran the United States Capitol in a lethal riot.
In his first main speech since he left the White House final month, Trump mentioned the GOP is “going to unite and be stronger than ever before”.
“I am not starting a new party. That was fake news,” he advised the group on the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday afternoon.
“We will be united and strong like never before. We will save and strengthen America and we will fight the onslaught of radicalism, socialism and indeed, it all leads to communism,” mentioned Trump, who spent a lot of his speech hitting out at US President Joe Biden.
Trump repeated his false claims the November presidential election was stolen from him and in addition hinted at one other attainable presidential run.
“They just lost the White House,” Trump mentioned. “But who knows, who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”
His supporters have dominated this 12 months’s convention, held in Florida as a result of state’s unfastened restrictions on gatherings through the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the nation’s largest annual gathering of Republicans and conservatives, CPAC sometimes signifies the course of the Republican Party and its supporters.
While previous conferences have served as a discussion board for debate between a broad coalition of US conservatives, attendees of this 12 months’s assembly devoted the weekend to expressing their dedication to Trump and affirming his persevering with dominance of the celebration.
The occasion comes as deep divides have emerged throughout the Republican Party after the Capitol rebel on January 6 and weeks of false claims by Trump and his supporters that the election was marred by widespread voter fraud.
‘At war with itself’
Al Jazeera’s John Hendren, reporting from Orlando on Sunday, mentioned the convention has introduced collectively “the pro-Trump side of the Republican Party” – the celebration, he mentioned, is at present “at war with itself”.
Pro-Trump Republicans defended Trump amid accusations he incited the mob of his supporters that overran the Capitol constructing, whereas others publicly criticised him and a few even voted for his impeachment.
Republican legislators who’ve been vital of Trump, together with Congresswoman Liz Cheney and former Senate majority chief Mitch McConnell, weren’t welcome on the convention, Hendren mentioned.
“This is his effort to control that party,” Hendren reported.
Trump supporters travelled from throughout the nation to see the previous president’s first remarks since he left workplace in January.
Hats, shirts and different pro-Trump paraphernalia have been on show on the convention, the place attendees took photographs alongside a gold statue of the previous president.
Vickie Froehlich, who served as a delegate on the Republican National Convention when Trump was first nominated in 2016, got here to CPAC from Minneapolis, Minnesota. If Republicans abandon Trump, she mentioned, “it would be a huge mistake”.
“I think he has been great for our country. He’s very popular still,” Froehlich advised Al Jazeera.
Speakers who took the stage through the weekend, together with Senators Rick Scott of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, introduced assist for persevering with Trump’s political mission.
In panel discussions, legislators and activists additionally argued in opposition to the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election outcomes and warned of left-wing conspiracies to silence conservative speech.
“I’m not backing down,” mentioned Hawley, one of many Republican senators who voted to overturn the outcomes of the US election, which earned him an prolonged standing ovation on the convention. “Not a chance! Not a chance!”
Chris Moody contributed to this report from Orlando, Florida