ORLANDO, Fla. – Former President Donald Trump on Sunday tore into President Biden on issues ranging from the brewing crisis at the border to foreign policy – while mapping out what he believes is the future of the conservative movement, and pledging not to create a new party.
"Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history," Trump said, calling the new administration "anti-jobs, anti-families, anti-border, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science."
"In one short month we have gone from America First to America Last," he said.
Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), marking his first major speech since leaving office. He spoke to a raucous pro-Trump crowd at an event where his influence was felt throughout.
He focused predominantly on the escalating border crisis, which he returned to frequently as he ripped into Biden’s rollbacks of a number of Trump-era policies – which has in turn seen a surge in migrants at the border.
"It took the new administration only a few weeks to turn this unprecedented accomplishment into a self-inflicted humanitarian and national security disaster," he said.
"By recklessly eliminating our border, security measures, controls, all the things we put into place, Joe Biden has triggered a massive flood of illegal immigration into our country like we've never seen before."
He also hit Biden on the failure to re-open schools, which Biden has promised to do, but is so far struggling to deliver amid fierce resistance in a number of states from powerful teachers unions.
"Joe Biden has shamefully betrayed America's youth and he is cruelly keeping our children locked in their homes, no reason for it whatsoever," he says.
He accused Democrats of wanting Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion "boondoggle" to open schools.
"On behalf of all the moms and dads, I call on Joe Biden to open the schools and get them open now," he said.
He frequently compared the various states of COVID restrictions across the country back to the migrant crisis at the border and a planned increase in refugee admissions.
"Your family can still not go out to eat at local restaurants, but Joe Biden is bringing in thousands upon thousands of refugees from all over the world, people who no one knows anything about," he said.
Trump’s speech was preceded by the CPAC straw poll, which polled attendees about who they would like to see on the ballot. Attendees comfortably chose Trump for a 2024 run, while voting for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a separate poll if Trump did not throw his hat in the ring.
Trump also hit Biden on his energy policies, saying they would lead to reliance on Russia and the Middle East, as well as foreign policy – where he scolded the standdown on Iran sanctions by the Biden administration.
"Leave the sanctions, negotiate, does anybody understand what I’m saying here?" he said
Trump did not declare a 2024 run, although he did say he might consider beating Democrats "for a third time" – in reference to his claim that he won the 2020 election. Biden won the Electoral College 306-232.
But he told CPAC, which is sponsored by Fox Nation, that reports he was mulling creating a new party were "fake news."
"We are not starting new parties, they kept saying 'he's going to start a brand new party.' We have the Republican Party, it's going to unite and be stronger than ever before – I am not starting a new party, that was fake news."
While promising unity, he targeted by name a number of Republicans who had opposed him or voted for him to be impeached.
Names included Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. – who he called a "warmonger."
"We cannot have leaders who show more passion for condemning their fellow Americans than they ever have for standing up to Democrats, the media and the radicals who want to turn America into a socialist country."
Instead he laid out the issues Republicans should target if they want to take Congress and the White House.
"The mission of our movement and the Republican Party must be to create a future of good jobs, strong families, safe communities, a vibrant culture and a great nation for all Americans and that’s what we are creating."
He called for "comprehensive election reform" and for conservatives to work to break up Big Tech monopolies.
"Republicans and conservatives must open up our platforms and repeal Section 230 liability protections – and if the federal government refuses to act, then every state in the union, where we have the votes ... Big Tech giants like Google and Facebook must be punished with sanctions whenever they silence conservative voices."
He predicted that a "Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House."
"And I wonder who that will be, I wonder who that will be?" he said to cheers from the crowd. "Who, who, who will that be I wonder?"