During the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Donald Trump presented himself as the only candidate capable of saving the United States from the “warmongering” Democrats and the “fools” of the Republican Party. Trump uses fear-mongering to exploit the fears of his electorate and to set himself up as the party’s would-be savior. In his speech, Trump assured that Americans must wage “an epic struggle to rescue” the country from those “who hate it and want to destroy it completely”. He also ran through his recurring themes, such as the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, which he considers fraudulent; he lashed out at “radical left” prosecutors; and he discussed the immigration issue.
Trump used the Ukraine war to vindicate himself, claiming that “we are going to have World War III if something doesn’t happen soon” and that he is the only candidate who can prevent it. He also boasted of having deported tens of thousands of migrants and of having started building a wall on the border with Mexico, which was stopped by Biden, and which he promised to expand if he returned to the White House.
The conservative convention had notorious absences such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence, two possible contenders for 2024, to avoid being humiliated by Trump’s hardcore followers. His only declared rival, Nikki Haley, experienced it firsthand on Friday, being interrupted over and over again.
In addition, the conference featured several panelists who flaunted their Christian values and condemned transgender rights. Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro also spoke at CPAC, claiming that his mission is not yet over in Brazil and thanking God for his second life after the stabbing he suffered in 2018. Bolsonaro claimed to have an “exceptional” relationship with Trump and received a standing ovation from the audience.
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