Former President Trump predicted voters will “rescue America’s future” in November’s midterm elections and warned that Democrats are trying to “damage” him in an effort to prevent him from getting “back to work” for the American people — a possible hint at a 2024 presidential bid.
The former president’s remarks came during the America First Policy Institute summit in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, marking his first visit to the nation’s capital since leaving the White House in 2021.
Trump delivered the keynote address at the event, put on by the think tank formed by officials who served in his administration, highlighting the nation’s “decline” under the Biden administration and stress the importance of a return to law and order in the United States ahead of the midterm elections.
“There is time for us to bring America back from the brink,” Trump said Tuesday. “We gather today on the verge of a historic midterm election. The American people are poised to reject the failed reign of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and the radical left in a momentous landslide.”
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“This November, the people are going to vote to stop the destruction of our country and they’re going to vote to rescue America’s future,” Trump continued, saying there is “no higher priority than cleaning up our streets, controlling our border, stopping the drugs from pouring in and quickly restoring law and order in America.”
Trump, referring to the crime wave facing the country, said criminals “have been given free rein more than ever before.”
“Many of our once great cities, from New York to Chicago to L.A., where the middle class used to flock to live the American dream, are now war zones — literal war zones,” Trump said, noting that every day there are “stabbings, rapes, murders and violent assaults of every kind imaginable.”
“We are living in such a different country for one primary reason: There is no longer respect for law and order,” Trump said. “Our country is now a cesspool of crime.”
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He added: “We have blood, death and suffering on a scale once unthinkable because of the Democrat Party’s effort to destroy and dismantle all enforcement all throughout America — it has to stop. And it has to stop now.”
Violent crimes have been on the rise in major cities across the nation, reaching unprecedented numbers in the last two years, with murders increasing by nearly 30% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to FBI data. By 2021, homicides continued to rise in major American cities across the country, with the Council on Criminal Justice releasing data in January showing a 5% increase in homicides compared to 2020.
Violent crimes have increased anywhere from nearly 5% to up to 40% compared to the same time frame in 2021 in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Violent crimes are typically defined as reports of rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault and murder.
New York City has so far seen the largest increase in violent crimes out of the cities reviewed by Fox News, with a 40.6% increase compared to 2021.
The former president said that lawmakers need to “have the courage to say what needs to be said and to do what needs to be done to keep America safe.”
“We owe it to the victims. We owe it to our families. And we owe it to our country to do the right thing in the Make America Great Again movement,” Trump said. “We believe that every citizen of every background should be able to walk anywhere in this nation at any hour of the day without even a thought of being victimized by violent crime.”
“‘America First’ must mean safety,” Trump continued. “We have to have safety, starting with our new majorities in Congress next year and continuing onto the next Republican president.”
Trump stressed the importance of giving police “back their authority, resources, power and prestige.”
“We have to leave our police alone. Let them do their job, give them back the respect that they deserve,” Trump said. “Our great police know what to do, and we have to allow them to do it.”
Trump said that leaders “cannot allow every isolated policing mistake to be turned into a national crisis and all power taken away from our police so that people are killed all over the streets of our country.”
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“The radical left’s anti-police narrative is a total lie,” Trump said.
In a swipe at Democrats, Trump said: “Let’s call it the ‘Big Lie.’ Have you ever heard that expression before? The ‘Big Lie.’”
Democrats and those on the left have used the term “The Big Lie” to refer to Trump claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen through fraud.
Trump said there is “much more to the America First agenda,” which he would lay out in the weeks and months to come.
“We have to do so much,” Trump said. “We need to save our economy and stop the inflation crippling American families. We have to rescue our schools from the Marxist teachers’ unions. We need to completely demolish the corrupt education bureaucracy and liberate our children.”
Trump also stressed the need to “protect parents rights.”
Meanwhile, Trump warned Americans “never” to “forget everything this corrupt establishment is doing to me,” referring to Democrats and the January 6th Committee, saying it is “all about preserving their power and control over the American people.”
“They want to damage you in any form, but they really want to damage me, so I can no longer go back to work for you and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Trump said. “No matter how big or powerful, the corrupt radicals that we’re fighting against may be, no matter how menacing they appear, we must never forget this nation does not belong to them.”
He added: “This nation belongs to you—the American people.”
Trump, though, said “soon” the United States “will have greatness again.”
“With all my heart and all my soul, I firmly believe that the American people will reject a fate of decline, demoralization, and ultimately a fate of defeat, and I believe that we will come together and choose instead a future of revival, recovery, resurgence, and in the end, a nation that is more exceptional than it ever was before,” Trump said. “I believe we can do that.”
The former president said “America’s story is far from over.”
“In fact, we are just getting ready for an incredible comeback, a comeback that we have no choice but to make — we don’t have a choice. We won’t have a country,” Trump said. “If we don’t make it through strength, we will restore our safety through hard work; we will rebuild our prosper through courage; we will reclaim our liberty through love; we will repair our unity through success; we will rediscover our pride and through unyielding determination, together, we will make America stronger, safer, freer, greater and more glorious than ever before.”
While he has not made a formal announcement, Trump has hinted that he will run for re-election in 2024.
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Trump told Fox News in November that he planned to wait until after the midterm elections to make a formal announcement.
Trump, over the weekend, dominated the 2024 GOP presidential nomination straw poll at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida.
TPUSA polled conference attendees — youth activists from around the country — who they would vote for in 2024 if Trump decided to launch another White House run. The vast majority of attendees, 78.7%, said they would vote for Trump, and 19% said they would vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and 1% said they’d vote for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Amb. Nikki Haley, and former Vice President Mike Pence each received less than 1% of the vote..
The straw poll was sponsored by Turning Point Action, the affiliated 501(c)(4) of TPUSA.
Trump did not make mention of Pence during his remarks. Pence also delivered remarks in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.