Donald Trump held his first rally since leaving the White House on Saturday night, addressing thousands of supporters in a freewheeling speech at a Northeast Ohio fairground as the former US president billed as the “very first gathering of the 2022 elections”.
“My fellow Americans, our movement is far from over,” Trump told a crowd of fans in Wellington, Ohio, a small rural town 30 miles southwest of Cleveland. “In fact, our fight has only just begun.
Trump, who has not ruled out running for president in 2024, repeated his false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” in a rambling 90-minute speech in which he bragged about the achievements of his administration and tore up his successor Joe Biden.
“He puts America last. We put America first, ”Trump said. “It’s very simple. Very, very simple.
“We won the election twice,” Trump added, referring to the 2016 and 2020 elections, before hinting at a possible third round in the White House: “And we may have to win it a third time. . It’s possible.”
Saturday’s “Save America” rally in Lorain County, Ohio – an area where white working-class voters once supported Barack Obama but have become increasingly conservative and pro-Trump in recent years – a marked the return of the former president to the electoral campaign after several months of relative silence.
He snubbed Biden’s nomination and was banned from most major social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, after January 6, when crowds of his supporters stormed the United States Capitol. and discontinued the certification of victory of the Electoral College of Biden. The riots left five people dead, including a police officer from the Capitol.
Trump made little mention of the Jan.6 siege on Saturday, but continued to repeat his unsubstantiated claims that last year’s U.S. election was fraught with fraud and rigged against him.
“You have to look back. We won the election in 2020. Who the hell knows what will happen in 2024? The former president said to chants of “Trump won!” Trump won! public.
Trump urged crowds to support a list of what he called “America First patriots” ahead of next year’s midterm elections, when control of the US House of Representatives and Senate will be up for grabs.
Trump endorsed several candidates ahead of Republican primaries who should be a key feature test of its lasting influence on party voters.
On Saturday, he shared the scene with Max Miller, a former White House aide who runs against Anthony González, an outgoing Republican congressman from Ohio who was one of 10 House Republicans who voted for impeach Trump for his role in the January 6 riots. Trump also backed Mike Carey, a former Republican coal lobbyist, in a special election to be held in a neighboring congressional district later this year.
While Trump’s comeback rally was eagerly awaited by many of his most ardent fans, Saturday’s event was infrequently attended by Republican lawmakers and other establishment figures.
Mike DeWine, Republican Governor of Ohio, declined to attend, as did Rob Portman, the Republican who represents the state in the US Senate, who said he would step down at the end of his term in the year. next.
Instead, Trump was introduced Saturday night by two of the most controversial members of Congress: Georgia Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. Greene was kicked out of her congressional committee assignments earlier this year for her endorsement of QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
Trump’s comeback rally came just a day after it was reported that the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, could face criminal charges Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance starting next week. Lawyers for Trump’s family business were warned on Thursday of possible charges related to the company’s benefit accounting.