Trump back in Washington to deliver political speech
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will return to Washington on Tuesday for the first time since leaving office, delivering a policy speech to an allied think tank that has drawn up an agenda for a possible second term.
Trump will address the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda summit as some advisers urge him to spend more time talking about his vision for the future and less time reviving the 2020 election as he prepares to announce a planned campaign for the White House in 2024.
“I think it will be a very policy-oriented and forward-looking speech, very much like a State of the Union 5.0,” said AFPI President Brooke Rollins. Comprised of former Trump administration officials and allies, the nonprofit is widely seen as an “administration in waiting” that could quickly move to the West Wing if Trump were to run again and win.
Trump’s appearance in Washington – his first trip since Jan. 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden was sworn in – comes as his potential 2024 rivals have taken increasingly overt steps to challenge his status as party standard bearer. Among them is former Vice President Mike Pence, who has touted his own “freedom agenda” in speeches that implicitly contrast Trump.
“Some people may choose to focus on the past, but I believe conservatives need to focus on the future. If we do, we will not only win the next election, we will change the course of American history for generations,” Pence had planned to say in a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on the eve of Trump’s visit. Pence’s appearance was postponed due to inclement weather, but he will deliver his own speech Tuesday morning in front of the Young America’s Foundation not far from the AFPI meeting.
Trump has spent much of his time since leaving office obsessing over the 2020 election and spreading lies about its loss to cast doubt on Biden’s victory. Indeed, even as the January 6 committee laid bare its desperate and potentially illegal attempts to stay in power and its refusal to call out a violent mob of its supporters as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power, Trump has continued to try to pressure officials to overturn Biden’s victory, despite there being no legal way to decertify the last election.
On Tuesday, he plans to focus on public safety.
“President Trump sees a nation in decline that is driven in part by rising crime and communities becoming less safe under Democratic policies,” his spokesman, Taylor Budowich, said. “His remarks will highlight the political failures of Democrats, while laying out an America-first vision for public safety that will surely be a defining issue midterm and beyond.”
Beyond the summit, staff at America First Policy Institute laid their own foundation for the future, “ensuring that we have the policies, staff and processes set for each key agency when we resume the White House,” Rollins said.
The nonprofit grew, she said, out of efforts to avoid the chaotic early days of Trump’s first term, when he arrived at the White House unprepared, without plans. clear ready to be put in place. As Trump was running for re-election, Rollins, then head of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, began sketching out a second-term program with other administration officials, including top economic policy adviser Larry Kudlow and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.
When it became clear that Trump would leave the White House, she said, the AFPI was created to continue this work “organized around this second term program that we never published.”
The organization, once dismissed as a landing zone for former Trump administration officials deprived of more lucrative jobs, has grown into a behemoth, with an operating budget of around $25 million and 150 employees, including 17 former senior White House officials and nine alumni. Cabinet members.
The group also has more than 20 political centers and has attempted to expand its reach beyond Washington by working to influence local legislatures and school boards. An ‘American leadership initiative’, led by former Office of Personnel Management chief Michael Rigas, launched weeks ago to identify future employees loyal to Trump and his ‘America First’ approach who could be hired part of a broader effort to replace large swaths of the civil service, as Axios recently reported.
The group is one of many Trump-allied organizations that have continued to lobby his policies in his absence, including America First Legal, dedicated to combating Biden’s agenda through the justice system, the Center for Renewing America and the Conservative Partnership Institute.
The summit aims to highlight AFPI’s “America’s First Program”, centered on 10 key policy areas, including the economy, health care and election security. It includes many of Trump’s signature issues, such as continued construction of a wall along the southern border and a plan to “dismantle the administrative state.”
In a speech Monday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose “contract with America” has been credited with helping Republicans sweep the 1994 midterm elections, hailed the effort as the key to future GOP victory.
“The American people want solutions,” he said.