Donald Trump has suggested he may run for president again in 2024 – amid an angry attack on Joe Biden in his first major address since leaving the White House.
The Republican used his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in an apparent effort to cement his status as the party’s undisputed leader despite his defeat in November.
“Do you miss me yet?” Mr Trump began, amid rapturous applause.
“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together… there’s never been a journey so successful – we began it together four years ago and it is far from over,” he said.
He dismissed suggestions he may start a new party, saying “we’re not interested in them”.
“We all knew the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us even imagined just how bad they would be,” he said.
“He talked about energy. I thought ‘this guy, actually he’s ok with energy’. He wasn’t ok with energy… he wants windmills.”
Continuing his attack, he suggested the Democrat would lose in 2024, adding: “Who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time” – a reference to the repeated and baseless claim that he did not lose the last election.
The former reality TV star returned to many of his favourite themes, apparently deviating from his prepared speech while railing over immigration, the Paris Climate Agreement and attacking China.
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Despite his lie that last year’s election was not fair having helped fuel deadly riots involving his supporters at the US Capitol on 6 January, Mr Trump repeatedly returned to the allegation.
Amid his wide-ranging attacks on Mr Biden, who received over seven million votes more than him nationwide, he suggested the Democrat’s administration was pushing policies that would “destroy women’s sports” – before referring to transgender women as “biological males”, prompting a standing ovation from the audience.
He also said many people were now using “the new term, Trumpism”.
“I’m hearing that term more and more,” he claimed.
“I didn’t come up with it.”
Returning to the theme of wind power, he suggested an over reliance on the source of energy could mean there was not enough electricity to watch him on TV – before complaining that “it kills the birds”.
The event so far at a Hyatt hotel in Orlando, Florida, has been a tribute to Trump and Trumpism – even featuring a golden statue in his likeness.
Speakers, including many potential GOP 2024 hopefuls, have argued the party must embrace the former president and his followers, even after the insurrection at the Capitol.
They face opposition from others who argue the party must move in a new, less divisive direction after Republicans lost not only the White House to Mr Biden but both chambers of Congress in the last elections.