Former US President Donald Trump will return to Washington for the first time since leaving office on Tuesday, making a policy speech before an allied think-tank that has been developing an agenda for a possible second term.
According to CNN, Trump will address the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit as some advisers urged him to spend more time talking about his vision for the future and less time re-litigating the 2020 election as he prepares to announce an expected 2024 White House campaign.
“I believe it will be a very policy-focused, forward-leaning speech, very much like a State of the Union 5.0,” said Brooke Rollins, AFPI’s president.
Composed of former Trump administration officials and allies, the nonprofit is widely seen as an “administration in waiting” that could quickly move to the West Wing if Trump were to run again and win.
Trump’s first trip back since January 2021, when President Joe Biden was sworn into office comes as his potential 2024 rivals have been taking increasingly overt steps to challenge his status as the party’s standard-bearer.
They include former Vice President Mike Pence, who has been touting his own “Freedom Agenda” in speeches that serve as an implicit contrast with Trump.
“Some people may choose to focus on the past, but I believe conservatives must focus on the future. If we do, we won’t just win the next election, we will change the course of American history for generations,” Pence had planned to say in a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on the eve of Trump’s visit.
Pence’s appearance was postponed because of bad weather, but he will be delivering his own speech Tuesday morning before Young America’s Foundation not far from the AFPI meeting.
Trump is said to have spent much of his time since leaving office fixated on the 2020 election and spreading lies about his loss to sow doubt about Biden’s victory.
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Indeed, even as the Jan. 6 committee was laying bare his desperate and potentially illegal attempts to remain in power and his refusal to call off a violent mob of his supporters as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power, Trump continued to try to pressure officials to overturn Biden’s win, despite there being no legal means to decertify the past election.
“President Trump sees a nation in decline that is driven, in part, by rising crime and communities becoming less safe under Democrat policies,” said his spokesman, Taylor Budowich. “His remarks will highlight the policy failures of Democrats, while laying out an America First vision for public safety that will surely be a defining issue during the midterms and beyond.”
Beyond the summit, staff at the America First Policy Institute have been laying their own groundwork for the future, “making sure we do have the policies, personnel and process nailed down for every key agency when we do take the White House back,” Rollins said.
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