previous president Donald Trump He returned to campaign mode with a vengeance Saturday night, vowing at a rally in Ohio that Republicans would take back Congress, bemoaning his loss in last November’s election and avenging the Republican congressman who voted to impeach him.
Trump described the event as “the first campaign rally for the 2022 election,” and Trump predicted that next year’s elections would lead to a “giant Republican majorities” in both houses of Congress.
“We’ll take back the House, we’ll take back the Senate,” he promised the crowd at the Lorraine County Fairgrounds in Wellington, about half an hour southwest of Cleveland.
“We have no choice,” he added.
The event marks Trump’s return to the kind of mass rallies that fueled his campaigns at the White House. Since leaving office in January, Trump’s public appearances have been limited to a handful of speeches to conservative and Republican groups.
Trump’s political action committee, Save America PAC, said the Ohio rally would be the first of many manifestations of support for the candidates and causes that advance his agenda and the accomplishments of his administration. A second rally is already scheduled for July 3 in Sarasota, Florida.
Political analysts said the events are designed to give Trump a platform to reassert himself as the leader of the Republican Party, and to promote his own conspiracy theories about last November’s election – and just as important to Trump and his defeated arrogance – to settle old scores.
“This is just the beginning of Donald Trump’s complaint round,” said David Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Akron.
But Trump insisted he was not trying to undermine democracy. “I am the one who is trying to save American democracy,” he said.
Banned from Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms As used to communicating with his supporters, Trump showed the enthusiasm of the raucous crowds, numbering in the thousands.
“Are we having a good time?” Trump asked.
Crowd straight back on cue.
In style and style, the event served as a reminder of the rallies Trump held across the country during his two White House campaigns. He took to stage when the megaphone blasted Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”—a favorite on his playlist during last year’s campaign—and threw red hats “Make America Great Again” to the crowd.
In his 91-minute remarks, Trump criticized his Democratic opponents such as Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, mocked “fake news” and made baseless accusations about his loss to Joe Biden in last November’s presidential election. Trump said he was “ashamed” of the US Supreme Court for failing to support his unsupported allegations of election fraud.
Although he has not announced his own plans, Trump has hinted that he may run again for the White House in 2024. Falsely claiming that he has already won the presidency twice, he declared that “we can win it the third time.”
Although Trump He lost the presidency to Biden Last November, Ohio gained eight percentage points. But political scientist Justin Buchler saw no special connection to the fact that Trump chose Ohio – historically a swing state in presidential elections – as the site of his first rally since leaving the White House.
More importantly, at least for Trump, he showed up in Lorraine County, which he won by three percentage points last November and where he was surrounded by people loyal to him.
“He’s not campaigning outside his comfort zone,” said Buchler, associate professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “He will not go to areas where a hostile crowd will surround him. He will go to places where people of his loyal followers can surround him.”
Supporters began arriving at the Lauren County Fairgrounds early Saturday afternoon, donning American flags and selling T-shirts that read “Trump won.” A cover squad ran into the grounds as people lined up at food trucks and drank water to stave off the heat.
Leslie Dodd headed to Wellington from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, with her son to attend the rally. She said she hopes to hear good news from Trump and believes the Republican Party should follow suit as candidates prepare for the 2022 and 2024 elections.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s still my boss,” Dodd said.
Edward X Young of Brick Township, New Jersey, the 61-year-old horror film actor, director and makeup artist, drove from his home Friday night and arrived at the Lorraine County location 11 hours later.
“This is Trump’s 51st rally,” Young said. The last meeting he said he attended was the January 6 rally in Washington, where people stormed the US Capitol. Young said he never went to the Capitol.
“I’m really excited about this,” said Young, who likened the atmosphere to a rock ‘n’ roll concert.
Sandra Price, 57, of Walid Lake, Michigan, had hoped Trump would say he didn’t give in to the 2020 election.
“I want the president re-elected,” said Price, who was attending Trump’s 19th rally.
Price said she resents members of the Republican Party who are unfaithful to conservative principles. “Democrats stab me in the chest,” she said. “Republicans stab me in the back.”
Trump used his remarks not only to attack Democrats, but also members of his own party, including the Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a member of Congress in Northeast Ohio was one of the 10 Republicans voted to impeach him to incite January 6 attack on the Capitol That left five dead.
The Ohio Republican Party board voted in May to censure Gonzalez and call for him to resign. Weeks ago, Trump responded to Gonzalez by offering his support for Max Miller, who is running against Gonzalez in next year’s Republican primary. Miller has worked with Trump during the campaign and at the White House, and Saturday’s meeting was held in part to promote Miller’s candidacy.
Miller, who joined Trump on stage, called Gonzalez a “sold-out RINO infantry soldier” and said his vote to impeach Trump was “a betrayal that he can never undo and that he must respond to day in and day out.
Trump called Gonzalez a “wonderful Reno” and “a con, a fake Republican and a disgrace to your state.” He praised Miller as a “trusted aide to me” and said he played a role in the Trump administration’s negotiations with North Korea.
Trump insisted that Gonzalez’s vote to impeach “is not the reason I’m doing it.” But, he added, “I just thought it was a character trait that wasn’t good.”
Politically, Cohen said Gonzalez, who represents Ohio’s 16th congressional district, “has a big problem.”
“His vote for impeachment – albeit very brave and taken without politics in mind – is a vote that has hurt his political base,” Cohen said. “And it could cost him his seat.”
Trump’s rally in Ohio came just four days before he is scheduled to visit the US-Mexico border on June 30 with Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
As he has done in the past, Trump has repeatedly attacked Biden’s border policies during his remarks, arguing that his successor has “deliberately and systematically” dismantled border security and allowed the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. He claimed Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to the US-Mexico border on Friday “for one simple reason: because I announced I was going.”
Cohen said that while he was no longer in office and no longer a candidate for public office — at least not officially — the Trump rally was part of an overall strategy to keep him in the public eye.
He said, “He is not leaving.” “He will not leave the political stage.”
Trump’s rally showed that he has no intention of abandoning politics anytime soon.
“Our movement is not over yet,” he said. “Actually, our battle has just begun.”
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
Contributing: Haley P. Miller of The Columbus Dispatch and James McKinnon of Akron Beacon.