OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Trump believes he has a winning formula for his Republican Party during the upcoming midterm elections and beyond.
During a rousing, well-received speech to conservatives Saturday evening at a CPAC event in Dallas, Texas, the 45th president, who has teased running again for the White House in 2024 for more than a year, called for directly assailing President Joe Biden’s agenda as well as the Democrats who control Congress.
Trump said Republican candidates could make nothing short of a “clear pledge” to take control of Congress and mount a “national referendum” on the Democrats’ failing fight against rising crime.
“We have to win an Earth-shattering victory in 2022,” Trump said. “Winning this election needs to be a national referendum on the horrendous catastrophes radical Democrats have inflicted on our country.”
GOP candidates must campaign on a “clear pledge” that they can “shut down the border, stop the crime, the inflation, and hold the Biden administration accountable,” Trump said, according to Newsmax.
“Job number one” must be for a GOP-controlled Congress to “restore public safety.”
“People are walking outside and getting shot in the head,” said Trump. “Because of the radical left’s merciless crusade to dismantle law enforcement in America, our country is now a cesspool of crime that it has never been before.
“Everybody is talking about it, other countries are talking about it. You had seven people killed in Chicago this weekend. You had 68 people shot. That is not democracy, that is not what we stand for,” he added.
While again teasing another White House bid, Trump nevertheless said the priority is getting Republicans back in control of Congress.
“I ran twice… and I did much better the second time, getting millions more votes than I did in 2016 and likely getting more votes than any sitting president in the history of our country by far, and now we may have to do it again,” Trump said which drew massive cheers from the conservative audience, Newsmax added.
The former president also ripped cashless bail, as “savage criminals are being released” to “continue their violent rampages against the United States of America,” as “the streets of our Democrat-run cities are drenched with the blood of innocent victims.”
To make the country great again, he continued “we have to make America safe again first. It is time for leaders who have the courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.”
The GOP candidates and incumbents who are running for office in November “are not going to play games,” he added.
“They want to bring our country back,” said Trump, going on to call on a new GOP-led Congress to fund the “largest increase in hiring of police officers in American history,” adding they must also then be empowered to do their jobs without fear of reprisals by left-wing city administrators and ranking police officials.
“They know what to do and we have to allow them to do it,” said Trump. “We need to return to the tried-and-true strategy of a thing called stop-and-frisk. We have to take the guns away from criminals. Instead of taking guns away from law-abiding Americans, let’s take them away from the violent felons and career criminals for a change.”
Trump then repeated his call for the “death penalty for drug dealers,” claiming that countries around the world that have it don’t have near the drug problem the U.S. has.
“When I was in China, and until the plague came in, I had a very good relationship with President Xi [Jinping],” said Trump. “I said, ‘Do you have a drug problem?’ And he looked at me like ‘what kind of a stupid question is that?'”
In a line that drew heavy applause, Trump said the Chinese president told him that trials in his country are speedy and those convicted of death do not spend decades in appeals, as they are quickly executed.
“Last year, we lost 250,000 people to drugs,” he said. “There is no war. These are numbers that are bigger than war numbers: 250,000. They say it is 100,000. I say it is much more. It is probably more than 250,000, but you have also destroyed millions and millions because of drugs.”
Trump also touched on a signature policy theme of his: Border security.
“Our country is being invaded just like a military force was pouring in… We fight and spend billions and billions and even trillions of dollars defending the borders of countries that are 7,000 miles away, but they do not want to spend any money to defend our border,” he said.