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 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.
Despite his entirely unfounded allegations that last year’s election was not fair having helped trigger deadly riots involving his supporters at the US Capitol on 6 January, Mr Trump repeatedly returned to the claims.
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.