Trump looks to 2022 as March returns

Donald Trump held his first rally since leaving the White House Saturday night, addressing thousands of supporters in a free speech at the fairgrounds in northeastern Ohio that the former US president called “the first campaign rally of the 2022 election.”

“My fellow Americans, our movement isn’t over yet,” Trump told crowds of his fans in Wellington, Ohio, a small rural town 30 miles southwest of Cleveland. “Actually, our battle has only just begun.

Trump, who has not ruled out running for president in 2024, repeated his false claim that the 2020 election was “stolen” in a 90-minute long speech in which he boasted of his administration’s accomplishments and torn apart his successor, Joe Biden.

“He puts America last. We put America first,” Trump said. “It’s very simple. Very very simple. “

“We’ve won the election twice,” Trump added, referring to both the 2016 and 2020 elections, before hinting at a possible third round in the White House: “And we could win it for the third time. It’s possible.”

Saturday’s “Save America” ​​rally in Lorain County, Ohio – an area where white working-class voters have supported Barack Obama but have become increasingly conservative and pro-Trump in recent years – marked the former president’s return to his campaign trail after several months. relative silence.

He declined Biden’s inauguration and was banned from most major social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, after January 6, when crowds of his supporters stormed the US Capitol and boycotted Biden’s electoral victory. The riot resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer.

On Saturday, Trump made little reference to the January 6 blockade, but he continued to repeat his baseless claims that last year’s US election was riddled with fraud and fraud against him.

“You have to look back. We won the 2020 election. Who the hell knows what will happen in 2024?” the former president said to chants of “Trump won! Trump won!” from the audience.

Trump urged crowds to support a list of what he called “America Patriots First” ahead of next year’s midterm elections, when control of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate is under seizure.

Trump endorsed several candidates ahead of the Republican primary that is expected to be key مفتاح Test its lasting effect on party voters.

On Saturday, he shared the podium with Max Miller, a former White House aide who is running against Anthony Gonzalez, the current Republican congressman from Ohio who was one of 10 Republican members of the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Trump over his role in the January 6 riots. Trump also endorsed Mike Carey, a former Republican coal lobbyist, in a special election to be held in a congressional district later this year.

While the Trump comeback crowd was eagerly anticipated by many of his most ardent fans, Saturday’s event was not attended by Republican lawmakers and other institutional figures.

Mike DeWine, the 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 next year.

Instead, Trump was introduced Saturday night by two of the most divisive members of Congress: Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green and Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. Green was fired from her congressional committee duties earlier this year for her endorsement of QAnon and other conspiracy theories.

The Trump comeback rally came just a day after it was reported that the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, could Facing criminal charges From Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance as soon as next week. Lawyers for the Trump family company were warned of possible charges related to the company’s calculation of fringe benefits Thursday.

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