Trump starts public re-emergence with focus on his grievances

Former president Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd as he speaks at the North Carolina Republican Convention on June 5, 2021, in Greenville, NC. (CHRIS SWEARD / AP)

Donald Trump began his public re-emergence with a rambling speech in which he aired longstanding grievances, highlighted his actions as president, and decried President Joe Biden and Democrats for undoing them.

The former president spoke for about 90 minutes at the North Carolina Republican Party’s convention in Greenville on Saturday night. He’s expected to restart campaign-style rallies this summer, as Republicans look to regain control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections, and continues to hold out the prospect of running for the White House again in 2024.

“Our movement is far from over,” Trump said. “In fact, it is just getting started.”

Trump had barely begun his critique of the Biden administration when he called his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to the stage. She announced she’s not running for an open US Senate seat in North Carolina, her home state, next year.

Donald Trump is expected to restart campaign-style rallies this summer, as Republicans look to regain control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections, and continues to hold out the prospect of running for the White House again in 2024

Trump then tried out his kingmaking role by endorsing one of several Republicans seeking the seat being vacated by three-term incumbent Senator Richard Burr, opting for US Representative Ted Budd.

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Standing ovations

The former president drew standing ovations from the crowd of about 1,250 as he called for a ban on the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools, accused Biden and Democrats of “destroying our country” and criticized infectious diseases expect Anthony Fauci.

Trump repeated his false contention that the 2020 election was stolen through fraud, and praised the efforts in Arizona and elsewhere to audit the results of the November vote. He also called investigations by New York prosecutors into his real estate company “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Trump’s speeches are providing his biggest platform since leaving office on Jan 20 because he was banned by most social-media companies for his posts that seemed to encourage the Jan 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

He’s been relegated to issuing press releases, giving interviews to friendly media outlets, and posting statements on a website blog abandoned last week after it attracted relatively few readers.

The former president is supporting candidates loyal to him and his agenda, as well as those challenging the few Republican lawmakers who backed his second impeachment. That’s worried some GOP leaders that Trump will hurt the party’s efforts to retake control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.

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But Trump said relitigating the past election was necessary for voters to have the confidence to participate in 2022.