Trump teased the prospect of presidential bid of his own in 2024 but vowed first to be an active presence on the campaign trail for his allies in next year’s fight for control of Congress.
“The survival of America depends on our ability to elect Republicans at every level starting with the midterms next year,” Trump said.
Trump delivered his latest comments in a speech to hundreds of Republican officials and activists gathered for the North Carolina GOP convention, the opening appearance in what is expected to be a new phase of rallies and public events.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Ammar Moussa took a shot at Trump in a statement released ahead of his speech.
“More than 400,000 dead Americans, millions of jobs lost and recklessly dangerous rhetoric is apparently not enough for Republicans to break with a loser president who cost them the White House, Senate and House,” Moussa said.
Other appearances considered
The former Republican president, who has been out of office for more than four months and banned from his preferred social media accounts, hopes to use events like the North Carolina gathering to elevate his voice ahead of another potential presidential run.
His advisers are considering appearances in Ohio, Florida, Alabama and Georgia to help bolster midterm candidates and energize voters.
In contrast to the mega rallies that filled sports arenas when Trump was president, he spoke to several hundred North Carolina Republicans seated at dinner tables inside the Greenville convention center Saturday night. Tens of thousands more followed along on internet streams.
Invited to the stage briefly during his remarks, Trump daughter-in-law and North Carolina native Lara Trump announced she would not run for the Senate, citing family obligations.
“I am saying no for now, not no forever,” she said.
Minutes later, Trump announced his endorsement of loyalist Representative Ted Budd in the crowded Republican primary in the state’s 13th District, adding a slap at former Governor Pat McCrory, who has been critical of Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election.
“You can’t pick people who have already lost two races and do not stand for our values,” Trump said.
Trump devoted much of his remarks to railing against President Joe Biden, who he said was leading “the most radical left-wing administration in history.”
While Trump has had to work harder to make his voice heard since leaving office, he remains a commanding force in the Republican Party.
A recent Quinnipiac University national poll found that 66% of Republicans would like to see him run for reelection, though the same number of Americans overall said they would prefer he didn’t.