By Jill Colvin | concerned body
WASHINGTON — In some far-fetched speeches from the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump repeated the false campaign claims that sparked the Jan. 6 uprising while his former vice president, Mike Pence, pleaded with Republicans to That they stop looking back.
Neither man, a potential foe for the 2024 GOP nomination, was ready to announce a campaign, but his speeches underscored the split in the party between Trump loyalists and Republicans who may still like Trump’s ideas. But ready to move on.
The former president was clearly not ready to move on.
“This election was a disaster. Our country is a disgrace,” Trump said, insisting despite all evidence he won in 2020. And he continued to tease his plans for the future, telling his cheering crowd, “We might have to do it again.”
Federal and state election officials from both parties and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the 2020 election was rigged. The former president’s allegations of fraud have also been rejected by courts, including judges appointed by Trump.
“Some people may choose to focus on the past, but the election is about the future,” Pence said, in an anti-Trump vein.
Speaking to the Young America Foundation, a student conservative group, Pence said. “I think conservatives must focus on the future to win America back. We cannot afford to lose sight of the path ahead because what is at stake is the survival of our way of life.
Trump also said that America’s survival is in danger. In a speech focusing on public safety, he said the country was under serious threat from crime. Among his proposals, he called for executing drug dealers, sending homeless people to encampments on the outskirts of cities and expanding his Southwest border wall to keep out thousands of violent criminals, which Biden’s White House After I moved it started again.
Trump spoke at a summit organized by a group of former White House officials and Cabinet members who are developing an agenda for a possible second Trump administration.
But he spent a lot of time airing his usual grievances.
“If I give up my beliefs, if I agree to remain silent, if I stay at home and take it easy, Donald Trump’s tyranny will stop immediately,” he said. “But I won’t do that.”
It was his first visit to Washington since January 20, 2021, when Biden took the oath of office despite Trump’s fierce efforts to stay in power.
He spoke out as some of his potential 2024 rivals have become increasingly brazen in their desire to challenge him. Among them is former Pence, who outlined his “liberty agenda” in a speech nearby.
Former White House aides were at it again Friday after campaigning for rival candidates in Arizona. Their separate speeches came amid news that Pence’s former chief of staff, Mark Short, testified before a federal grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
Short was at the Capitol the day Pence fled from an angry mob of rioters who called for his execution after Trump wrongly insisted Pence had the power to overturn the election results.
Pence repeatedly defended his actions that day, even as his decision to stand up to his boss turned Trump’s loyal base against him. Polls show Trump is, by far, the top choice of GOP primary voters, with Pence close behind.
The contrast was on display Tuesday when Trump addressed an audience of hundreds of cheering supporters gathered for the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit. The group, made up of former Trump administration officials and allies, is widely seen as an “administration in management” that could quickly move into the West Wing if Trump were to run again and win.
The event had the feel of a Trump White House reunion — but without Pence.
Pence, meanwhile, received a friendly – but not enthusiastic – welcome from the students, who chanted “USA!” I struggled to get in. shout
In his remarks, he repeatedly referred to the “Trump-Pence administration.” But his first question during a brief question-and-answer session was about his growing estrangement from Trump, especially given the years he spent as the former president’s most loyal sidekick. spent on
Pence denied the two had “differences on issues,” but acknowledged, “we may differ on the focus.”
“I really believe that the election is about the future and it’s absolutely necessary, at a time when so many Americans are hurting and so many families are struggling, that we look back,” he said. Don’t miss the temptation to watch,” he said. .
Also Tuesday, Simon & Schuster announced the title of Pence’s upcoming book, “So Help Me God,” which will be published in November. The publisher said the book, in part, “will chronicle President Trump’s severance of their relationship on January 6, 2021, when Pence took his oath of office to the Constitution.”
Trump has spent much of his time since leaving office spreading lies about his loss to cast doubt on Biden’s victory. Indeed, even as a House committee on January 6 refused to stop his efforts to remain in power and the violent mobs of his supporters as they tried to prevent a peaceful transition of power, Trump continued to press on. The effort continues. Officials overturned Biden’s win, despite having no legal means to make it uncertain.
Alabama Republican Tommy Tuberwell said he would be among several GOP senators attending Trump’s speech.
“You’re going to hear the same thing you hear in all the other speeches,” Tuberville told reporters at the Capitol. “But, you know, go out there and listen, as many of us would.”
Ahead of the summit, the America First Policy Institute is preparing for another possible Trump administration, “making sure that when we take back the White House, we have the policies, staff and The process is there,” its president said. , Brock Rollins.
The group is one of several Trump-allied organizations that have continued to advance his policies in his absence, including America First Legal, Joe Biden’s agenda on the judiciary, the Center for Renewing America and the Conservative Partnership Institute. Dedicated to fighting.
AP writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.