President Donald Trump addresses the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, the United States, February 29, 2020.
Yuri Gripas | Reuters
Donald Trump is expected to criticize President Joe Biden and seek to retain his grip on the future of the Republican Party on Sunday in his first major political speech since leaving the White House last month.
Trump will tell a high-profile rally of conservative activists in Orlando, Fla. That “the incredible journey we started together four years ago is far from over,” according to excerpts from his prepared remarks obtained by NBC News.
“The Republican Party is united. The only divide is between a handful of Washington DC establishment political hacks and everyone across the country,” he should say.
Trump is expected to eventually declare a presidential bid in 2024, although it is not clear whether he will use his speech at the Annual Conservative Political Action Conference to do so. He has made it clear that he has no intention of not commenting on the actions of his successor, as many former presidents have done.
“We all knew the Biden administration was going to be bad – but neither of us imagined how bad they would be and how far they would go,” he is expected to say.
In keeping with his penchant for dramatic exaggeration, Trump will call Biden’s first month “the most disastrous first month for any president in modern history.”
Trump’s political ambitions put Republicans in a difficult electoral situation. The 74-year-old remains extremely popular in the party, but failed to beat Biden in the 2020 election after losing support from moderates and independents.
After losing the presidential contest, Trump refused to concede for weeks and was impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting the mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6.
As the Senate ultimately acquitted him, leading Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, issued scathing reprimands for Trump’s actions.
Far from trying to unify the party, Trump is expected to take on some Republicans on Sunday, including Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Who voted in favor of Trump’s impeachment. Donald Trump Jr., the son of the ex-president, attacked Cheney on Friday at CPAC, saying she was “linked to an establishment that has done nothing but fail us.”
Earlier this month, Trump denounced McConnell in a statement as “austere, sullen, and smileless political hack.”
Although Trump has refused to step out of the limelight, he has had less direct public access since being banned from Twitter for violating his policy against incitement to violence. The company said the ban will remain in place even if Trump runs again. Trump is expected to attack “Big Tech” in his remarks.
Sunday’s speech is also expected to include a number of themes central to the Republican Party’s political agenda, such as how tough China is and promoting tougher immigration rules.
“The future of the Republican Party is as a party that defends the social, economic and cultural interests and values of working American families – of every race, color and creed,” he should say. “Republicans believe the needs of ordinary citizens must come first.”
Trump will also push for Biden to “open schools now,” according to excerpts from his remarks.
Since leaving the White House, Trump has faced growing legal danger in New York City, where Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is apparently investigating potential bank and insurance fraud linked to Trump and to his company, the Trump Organization.
Vance received years of Trump’s tax returns and related documents Monday after a lengthy legal battle that twice went to the Supreme Court. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused Vance of being politically motivated.
Subscribe to CNBC Pro for the live TV feed, in-depth information and analysis on how to invest during the next presidential term.