In his highly-anticipated first speech since leaving office, former President Donald Trump took the stage at CPAC on Sunday to complain about cancel culture while also targeting every congressional Republican by name who voted to impeach him.
Trump spoke at the conservative confab in Orlando, saying he might just run again in 2024, and called out the Republicans who voted to impeach and convict him for inciting the Capitol riot on January 6.
“The RINOs that we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican Party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself,” said Trump, referring to “Republicans in Name Only,” a longstanding derision of GOP politicians considered to be too liberal for the party’s right-wing base.
Trump then went a step further and named every “grandstander” Republican who joined congressional Democrats in voting for his impeachment—all 17 of them— beginning with Sen. Mitt Romney and concluding with Rep. Liz Cheney, who he called “the warmonger, a person that loves to see our troops fighting.”
“Get rid of them all,” Trump said.
The ex-president also targeted Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who publicly waffled on the issue of Trump’s impeachment before voting against it. The former president then took credit for McConnell’s landslide win in his famously expensive Kentucky Senate race.
“He asked for my endorsement,” Trump said of McConnell. “Brought him from one point down to 20 points up and he won his race in the great state, actually the great Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Trump bragged.
“If you compare that to his other elections, I’m sure you’ll see something interesting.”
Four out of McConnell’s last five Senate elections have been double-digit victories.
One of the Republicans targeted by Trump warned that Trump’s continuing to play an influential role in the Republican Party would be corrosive.
Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told CNN prior to Trump’s CPAC appearance that Republicans risk electoral failure if they “idolize one person.”
“There’s a lot of issues important to [Americans] right now, not by putting one person on a pedestal and making that one person our focal point,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy also pointed out that Trump would be 78 if he ran again in 2024 (Biden turned 78 before taking office in January), and that he doesn’t “think [Trump] will be our nominee.”
But early polling shows that 2024 is currently Trump’s nomination to lose. On Sunday Trump teased a 2024 run while again repeating the big lie about his 2020 loss.
“Who knows?” Trump said. “I may even decide to beat them for a third time, OK?”